Grandeur of the Everyday: The Paintings of Dale Kennington is a lavishly illustrated overview of the life and work of realist painter Dale Kennington and features more than eighty-five of her most renowned works. This the first full-length volume dedicated to the life and work of Kennington—an accomplished master of contemporary American realism.
Sadly, Kennington passed away in May at the age of 83 before the book’s completion. But she was deeply involved in the publishing process, even selecting the paintings for inclusion.
A reception will be held tomorrow evening, August 15 at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Kennington’s hometown for most of her life, to mark the book’s release. The reception – set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. − is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
Kennington referred to her paintings as “merged memories.” Combining elements of photography, memory, and imagination, Kennington’s art is an entrancing blend of contemporary and magical realism, with themes ranging from loneliness to community and culture, from class and race relations to the juxtaposition of private and public life. Rather than study the spectacular, she concentrated on commonplace moments of human interaction, inviting observers of her paintings to ponder their significance and to complete their implicit narratives. Often relying on local subjects for her paintings—barbershops, bars, restaurants, gospel concerts, motel rooms, nursing homes—she presented a diversity of local experience.
Grandeur of the Everyday is a treasure trove of her most accomplished creations and features both Kennington’s easel paintings on canvas as well her freestanding wooden folding screens. The volume also offers an original interview with the artist conducted by Kristen Miller Zohn, an introduction by art historian Daniel White, and a critical essay by the director of the Wiregrass Museum of Art, Rebecca Brantley.