“I felt like I was living in the middle of a tornado.”
Barbara Crawford uses this imagery to describe the culmination of life-changing-events: her husband’s long battle with cancer, numerous tragedies in the lives of her loved ones, and finally the floods of June 23, 2016.
“Growing up on the prairie of southwest Oklahoma, in the middle of Tornado Alley, I knew well the indiscriminate destruction possible as violent, twisting wind ripped through lives,” Crawford said. “Pondering these events I developed the idea for an exhibition that would address the power of the human spirit to bear such wholesale catastrophe.”
On display in Carnegie Hall’s Museum Gallery through June 24, “TORNADO” includes Crawford’s original paintings and installations and features poetry by West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman. One installation is an interactive mural-style painting titled “What Was Dark, Made Light.” The public is invited to cut dark panels from this painting and replace them with notes of gratitude and light to celebrate the spirit of survival.
Crawford is a professor of art at Southern Virginia University. She has conducted a summer study abroad program called “The Art of the Italian Renaissance” since 1984. She is a member of the Nelson Fine Arts Gallery in Lexington, VA, and is involved in several regional galleries.
The galleries at Carnegie Hall are open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information, please visit http://www.carnegiehallwv.org or call 304-645-7917.