On View

Robert Johnson (American, b. 1944), Lake Waccamaw State Park, 2019, acrylic and oil canvas. On loan from Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC

Safe Places: Robert Johnson

February 7, 2021 – August 1, 2021

It is as if artist Robert Johnson was experiencing the longing for safety amidst the current pandemic when titling his major body of work, Safe Places. In truth, Johnson started this ambitious project three years ago, with the objective to reside and work on site in all 41 North Carolina State Parks. This exhibition premieres more than 80 artworks realized through the artist’s vulnerable investigations. Opening himself to the environment, he shares, “Recording the mood of a landscape is just as important as recording what I see.”

This visual storyteller has chronicled the natural world on three continents in pencil, acrylic, and gouache on paper and canvas for over 40 years. His work echoes influences from late medieval Italian, American Folk, Indian Miniature, Tibetan Thangka, and Balinese painting traditions. Besides large-scale paintings, Safe Places includes his journal and notebook pages: intimate, annotated field observations of plants, birds, along with notes to himself. Johnson reflects, “I hope people seeing Safe Places will understand what an ecologically diverse state we live in. I hope they will feel inspired to go hike the trails in our parks with an observant eye. The more people get out to see the beauty of these areas the more they are likely to care for state parks and will want to preserve what is left of the natural environment.”

Exhibition sponsored in part by:

Blue Spiral 1 Gallery

Willie Cole - Black Art Matters

Black Art Matters

October 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021

Black Art Matters presents Willie Cole’s Blackronyms blackboards with word prompts such as CIVIL, RIGHTS, WHITE, BLACK which encourage visitors to respond. The artist openly invites us to sit at one the exhibition’s school desks, study the blackboards, and ponder what democratic ideals and equality might be one day in America. Fearlessly, Cole challenges us to accept the racial biases and inequalities continuing to shape the socio-political climate and economic structure of the United States. Willie Cole (American, b. 1955) grew up in Newark, New Jersey but traces his father’s family to Brunswick and Columbus counties. He attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1976, and continued his studies at the Art Students League of New York from 1976 to 1979. He is the recipient of many awards, including the 2006 Winner of the David C. Driskell Prize, the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African-American art and art history.

Collection of Cameron Art Museum. Gift of John Clell, Julie Hawthorne, and John Fisher Hamm honored to gift this American masterpiece of Abraham Lincoln to the Cameron Art Museum, and share it with our wonderful friends and neighbors in southeastern North Carolina. We hope it serves to inspire and touch generations to come.

The Face of Lincoln

September 12, 2020 – March 31, 2021

The Face of Lincoln is a meticulous casting formed in bronze from the original terra cotta sculpture by Robert Merrell Gage. In 1956, Gage created the Face of Lincoln in clay, based upon and inspired by the remarkable 1860 plaster life mask made of Lincoln by Chicago sculptor, Leonard Volk. It was one of only two face masks ever created of President Abraham Lincoln. Throughout his career, Gage sculpted likenesses of Lincoln in many stages of the president's life, and starred in the 1955 Academy Award winning film, The Face of Lincoln (20 minutes), also shown in the gallery.

Dorothy Gillespie Centennial Celebration

July 2020 – May 2021

Gillespie, an accomplished NYC artist, cherished the vibrant arts scene in Wilmington. The sculptures in CAM’s courtyard are from her Rockefeller Center Exhibit and will be displayed at CAM through March 2021 as part of the Dorothy Gillespie Centennial Celebration.

Gillespie was an American painter and sculptor who enjoyed an artistic career that spanned over 70 years. Known for her tremendous output of colorful, joyful sculptural art, she was among those who blazed a path for women artists during the feminist art movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Gillespie owned a house in Wilmington’s historic district and lectured at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

While You're Here..

  • Stroll through the ART PARK with sculptures by Charlie Brouwer, Clyde Jones, Vollis Simpson, Mel Chin and Dixon Stetler located throughout.

  • Take an up close look at Cameron Art Museum's whirly-gig by Vollis Simpson.

  • Visit the historic Forks Road Civil War Site. Walk along the only remaining vestige of historic Federal Point Road, the primary thoroughfare in the 1860s from Fort Fisher to Wilmington. See a reconstruction of the Confederate revetments which originally spanned a course of five miles from the Cape Fear River to present-day Hugh MacRae Park. On the NC Civil War Trails marker, read about the Forks Road battle on February 20-12, 1865 fought victoriously by 1600 United States Colored Troops, contributing to the Fall of Wilmington on February 22, 1865.

  • Enjoy a stroll along the pond and through the NATURE TRAILS located on the 9.3 acres of the museum campus. The trail winds its way from the museum front door north to our historic woodlands. On the trail you will observe native plant and animal life. Also walk along the FRUIT GROVE planted in 2011 in honor of Paul W. Phillips, CAM's Senior Security Guard. The orchard contains white and black muscadine grapes, peach, pear, fig, apple, plum and blueberry plantings.

  • PICNIC AREAS located throughout Pyramid Park. Ride your bike over to the museum and grab lunch at CAM Cafe to enjoy at the picnic tables.