“Silent Covenants,” a new art exhibit, will be on display from Monday to March 28 at the Bernice Coulter Templeton Art Studio.

Rebecca Boatman, the artist, describes her art as “power, strength, and nurture.”

“The exhibit consists of abstracted figures of fumed stoneware with found objects, metals, and kiln formed glass,” she wrote in an email.

Boatman wrote about the process she uses in creating each figure.

“I am constantly collecting, looking, and studying,” she wrote. “I then start with some aspect: the figure or the relic and go from there. I start with clay and add pieces both in pre-firing and post firing.”

She wrote that the title of her exhibit relates to people’s own covenants.

“Our covenants are sometimes so integral to our lives that there is no conversation…it is not needed,” Boatman wrote.

Making a note on what motivated her to create this exhibit, Boatman wrote that she likes telling a story through her art.

“I have always been an artist and always loved being outside and observing the natural environment,” she wrote. “At one point as a child I thought I may be an entomologist. I like the idea of promises and agreements.”

In her artist statement, Boatman wrote that her forms are a compilation of African nkisi.

“African nkisi are a visual manifestation of agreements made between parties,” she wrote in the email. “Lately, I have been concerned with the rapid decline in insect populations, so my work is slowly evolving to include our covenant as stewards of our environment.  Often, I also use relics or sacred objects as part of my sculpture.”

Writing about her early life, Boatman explained how she became passionate about art.

“I started doing art in elementary and decided before high school that art would be my career of choice,” she wrote. “I have made art ever since. I love it all: art history, art research, art making, and teaching.”

Aside from making art, Boatman wrote that she has been a teacher for more than 35 years. She is currently teaching ceramics at Brookhaven College.

Boatman wrote that she only teaches part time due to being busy making art and travelling.

“Since my ‘retirement,’ I have attended Burning Man [an annual event hosted in Nevada] for three years,” she wrote. “I created art for the playa- a shrine to goddesses throughout time and history.”

Boatman wrote that she and her husband have gone on worldwide endeavors to explore art.

“My husband and I have traveled worldwide and always seek out museums and locations that are steeped in art,” Boatman wrote. “My favorite places are Florence Italy, southern France, and the prehistoric caves in northern Spain.”

Kit Hall, a professor of art who also manages the gallery, wrote in an email that Boatman was one of the 18 proposals the gallery received last year.

Hall describes Boatman’s exhibit as “extremely thought provoking.”

“They are three-dimensional works that evoke spiritual feelings as well as touches on cultural themes,” she wrote.

Hall wrote that her favorite piece is called “Janis Joplin and the Vestal Virgins.”

“I am a fan of the late Janis Joplin,” Hall wrote. “From Joplin’s website, ‘She claimed the blues, soul, gospel, country and rock with unquestionable authority and verve, fearlessly inhabiting psychedelic guitar jams, back-porch roots and everything in between.’ I am anxious to see how the history of the Vestal Virgins connect with this rock star.”

Terri Cummings, associate professor of art, also played a part in choosing Boatman to exhibit at the gallery.

She said what called her attention from Boatman’s art is that it is sculptural.

“They are objects that are off the wall,” she said. “They are objects that exist in the same three-dimensional space we as humans exist in.”

What also caught her attention is that the figures are genderless.

“The figures are genderless in terms of genitalia,” Cummings said. “However, there are references to some within the lower abdomen area. One comes to mind that has a tiny little clear, transparent baby face in it, which suggests a gender — specifically female.”

Cummings said she likes that people will be able to make their own interpretations of the artwork when they see it.

“Each viewer that comes and interacts with each piece of artwork, has the opportunity to view through their own lens of experience, age, gender and connect or disconnect in different ways,” she said.

She said the artwork makes her feel happy.

“It makes me feel connected to something larger than myself,” Cummings said.

The gallery is located at 1415 E. Vaughn St. It is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The artist reception for “Silent Covenants” is 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 2. It is free and open to the public. The artist lecture is 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. March 7. For more information, contact Kit Hall at khall@txwes.edu or 817-531-4984.

“Janis Joplin and the Vestal Virgins” is one of the pieces of the new “Silent Covenants” exhibit at the Bernice Coulter Templeton Art Studio.
Photo courtesy of Kit Hall