Senior art show at Cumberland shows the beauty in trash

Jacob Smith • Mar 15, 2018 at 7:26 PM

David Huffman’s senior art show, entitled “Articles,” is on display at the Cumberland University art gallery until March 23.

A reception for the show was held Thursday afternoon and the public was invited to visit the display and talk with Huffman about some of his pieces.

Huffman is an award-winning artist and a native on Nashville. He was the recipient of the 2017 SHEA award for Best in Fine Art and five-time award winner at the Cumberland University Focus Show. He is currently studying art and design at Cumberland and will graduate in May.

According to Huffman, “Articles” is a metaphor for the fabric of neglect and abandonment in our society.

“The principles of the American dream have become a demonstration of material possessions and the people with whom we surround ourselves,” said Huffman. “We buy things, possess things and have people in our lives, and when we get tired of them, we throw them out or give them to Goodwill as discards. As soon as something is of no use to us, we get rid of it.”

Several pieces in the display feature old, thrown out copies of the Lebanon Democrat, which Huffman says is a play on the word articles. He also said he chose newspapers as a representation of people’s preconceived notions.

“A lot of people come in here with an idea already of what it’s about,” said Huffman. “It’s like how people will sometimes read the headline in a newspaper and think they know the whole story. I want people to know there’s more to the show than just what’s on the surface.”

Another major part of the show is used clothing that Huffman got at Goodwill.

“It’s clothes that people gave away and kind of abandoned, and I wanted to show the beauty of that,” said Huffman. “It’s beautiful to me.

The process of “Articles”was initiated by hanging clothesline installments in an urban setting. The installations were put together with hand-me-downs and throwaways, and then the setting was photographed.

“I use the photograph as a foundation to recreate my experience into mixed media,” said Huffman. “I use large surfaces to communicate the haunting emotions that I felt while hanging clotheslines in abandoned places. It is critical to me as an artist to recreate the clothing that I used through the mixture of paint and physical, tactile materials.”

After graduation, Huffman will be the crafts director at Camp Ridgecrest for Boysin Black Mountain, North Carolina. Then, in the fall, he will move to California where he has accepted an internship in the Disney College Program at Disneyland.

Ultimately, Huffman aspires to continue creating innovative art and enter an international graduate program to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts.

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