Rising over 40 feet in the Taubman Museum of Art’s City of Roanoke atrium is a new totem by Roanoke-based artist Ann Glover, her tallest and most ambitious public sculpture to date. Commissioned by the museum as part of its ongoing series of large-scale site works, the piece Myth features four stacked letters spelling out its title, a childlike homage to the mythic stories that we carry with us as we move through the world. The surface of each letter is layered with pieced canvas, paint, and stenciled forms—heads, words, and mysterious characters and scenes. Glover’s sources are cross-cultural and wide-ranging, from old comic books, sideshow banners, and advertising ephemera to free-use lettering and animal emblems. In her world of collage, everything is fair game; Hindu gods, Dick Tracy, UFOs, Medusa, Superman, Buddha, Confucius, Sheena (Queen of the Jungle)—these familiar icons occupy the same enigmatic space, forming unique juxtapositions. Glover’s visual storytelling also includes phrases and texts drawn from magazines, historical texts, and personal letters. Audience members are invited to discover their own narratives and physically engage the work through multiple entry points into the letter “H,” including an arched doorway, side portholes, and a hidden view discovered only when lying on the floor.
Ann Glover (born 1950) has exhibited paintings and sculpture nationwide for the past 30 years. Her group shows include presentations at UCLA, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Illustration in New York. She is the recipient of a Professional Fellowship from the VMFA (2011) and the Kendig Award of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge (2012). She has done a number of public works, such as the Childhood Totem at the Port of San Diego and Trojan Dog for Fire Station No. 7 in Roanoke. Her illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and several annuals of the New York Society of Illustrators.