Joyce Ice, director of the Art Museum of WVU, will present a program about the snake carvings of Appalachian artist Oscar Spenser, currently on view in the McGee Gallery, as the museum’s popular “Lunchtime Looks” program returns on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

“Snakes in the Museum” presents a look at the snakes carved by Spenser (1908-1993), a Virginia artist featured in the current exhibit, titled “Independent Vision: Self-Taught Artists from Appalachia.” Spenser carved realistic-looking snakes found in the Blue Ridge area.

Snakes have been objects of fear, fascination and reverence. Ice’s talk with also explore the important roles snakes play symbolically in cultures around the world, serving as emblems of royalty, sin, eternity and femininity.

WVU students, faculty and staff, and the general public are invited to bring a brown bag lunch to the Museum Education Center Grand Hall at noon and meet with other art enthusiasts to enjoy their midday meal. At 12:30 p.m., the group will move to the gallery for the 20-minute, in-depth look at Spencer’s snake sculptures, which are currently on view as part of the exhibition titled “Independent Vision: Self-taught Artists from Appalachia.” The works in the exhibition are from the Ramona and Millard Lampell Collection.

Audience members will have a chance to share their own reactions and questions about Spenser’s artwork.

The session will end by 12:50 p.m., so that those who need to get back to their offices will have plenty of time. Anyone who can’t get away for the entire hour is welcome to meet the group in the museum at 12:30 p.m. for just the art presentation.

Joyce Ice holds a doctorate in Anthropology and Folklore from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to WVU, she was director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has taught courses in folk culture and curated exhibitions on folk art and faith, textiles and festivals. Her publications include an edited volume titled “On Collecting, from Private to Public” (University of Washington Press, 2009).

Ice is also co-producer of the documentary “O Appalachia: Art and Lives of Self-Taught Artists,” airing on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s West Virginia Channel Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The film focuses on the lives and work of many of the artists featured in the Art Museum’s current exhibition on Appalachian self-taught artists.

The Art Museum and Museum Education Center are located near the corner of Patteson Drive and Morrill Way at the Evansdale Campus North Entrance.

Parking is available in short-term lots ST-1 and ST-9, with pay stations, one located near Patteson Drive and the other near the new Evansdale Crossing building.

For more information about the Lunchtime Looks program, contact the Art Museum of WVU at 304.292.4359.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, Art Museum of WVU

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