Published on January 22, 2021 by Ashley Smith  
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The John and Marsha Floyd Art and Design Series presents the work of Samford faculty Joe Cory in Graceland, Graceland.  The exhibit will be on display in the Samford Art Gallery Jan. 25-Feb. 19, with a virtual artist talk on Jan. 28 at 5 p.m.

“My exhibition Graceland, Graceland, results from a process of internal reflection on external events. The paintings on display, derived from online sources and observation, were created against the backdrop of the global pandemic and election turmoil and serve as a visual record of my personal and collective experiences of the past year,” said Cory. “I appropriated the exhibition's title from the chorus of Paul Simon's song Graceland, whose lyrics tell a story of the songwriter's search for solace and peace in a season of loss by making a pilgrimage to his artistic roots. To depict these sentiments, I returned to my own roots of traditional representational painting influenced by artists such as John Singer Sargent, Ilya Repin, and George Shaw. The poetic nature of the compositions is important. The symbolism and metaphors within the images balance sentiments of isolation and loss with the hope that despite the changing circumstances around us, moments of grace remain abundant.”

Current events and circumstances have influenced the content of the exhibits and schedule, but the Art Gallery has continued to serve as a place of inspiration for students and the Samford community. The first exhibit, The Dream Deferred, shared prints addressing issues of racial injustice.  Birmingham artist Sarah West’s show followed, featuring some of her newer works shaped by her quarantine experience. Additional spring shows will include student work and the first exhibit made possible through the student supported Diversity Series.  Senior Trent Carruth will explore neurodiversity. 

“We’ve been pleased to be able to continue mounting professional quality exhibitions in our gallery space this school year,” said Lauren Frances Evans, gallery coordinator and assistant professor of art.  “One exciting thing that has come out of this time is the adaptability of our artists and how, almost unconsciously, some of the artists showing in our space have been creating new work over the past year for their shows, which have been inevitably shaped by their experiences of the pandemic. While these perhaps were not their initial intentions when proposing their shows, the new work, made during this time, bears the marks of the effect that this past year has had on their lives, for better or for worse.”

The Samford Art Gallery is open to the Samford community Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Samford visitors may gain access to the gallery by emailing


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.