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Past Exhibitions

Celestial Centennial: The Art and Legacy of Dorothy Gillespie

Saturday, April 04, 2020 - Sunday, September 13, 2020

Organized in honor of the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth, Celestial Centennial: The Art and Legacy of Dorothy Gillespie, provides a retrospective outline of Gillespie’s career, beginning with her early Abstract Expressionist paintings and culminating in her colorful large-scale relief abstractions in metal, which became Gillespie’s hallmark.

Featuring works loaned from the Radford University Art Museum, the exhibition begins with the 1944 Dancers, painted in a style reminiscent of Synthetic Cubism; the latest work, dated 2005, is the scintillating, seven-foot-tall Looking Glass for the Winter Palace, installed in the Museum’s Resource Lounge and coming from the Taubman Museum of Art’s own collection. The artist gifted this work to the Museum the same year she created it, making the donation in memory of her father.

Celestial Centennial reveals Gillespie’s perpetual attraction to abstraction and allusion, color and form, movement and space, and balance and entropy.

Responding to the celebratory theme, the Museum will activate its central second-floor hallway—the Optical Cable Corporation Gallery—with sculptures and monumental wall pieces.

Additionally, Celestial Centennial is complemented by another exhibition titled Dorothy Gillespie: Still Enchanting Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Both shows were curated by Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable, the Museum’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Collections.

Celestial Centennial: The Art and Legacy of Dorothy Gillespie is on view in the Bank of America/Dominion Resources Gallery, the Optical Cable Corporation Gallery, and the Resource Lounge from April 4-September 13, 2020.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Roanoke Arts Commission, with additional support from the Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, Inc., and Susan and Geoff Jennings.

Download a walking and driving map featuring Gillespie's work in Southwest Virginia by clicking here.

Dorothy Gillespie (American 1920-2012), Dancers (detail), 1944, Oil on canvas, 36 x 42 in, Radford University