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Ground Floor Contemporary is pleased to present Lessons, an exhibition featuring work by Michael Acuff, Sarah Jeanne Adkins, and Barbara Hirshowitz. The work in the exhibition examines how fragments of our daily experiences can mutate and expand into new narratives. Within the work of each artist a dissecting of information occurs, a language is built, and often discarded variables become powerful, yet subtle, inhabitants of transformation.

By deconstructing both objects and scenarios, Michael Acuff strives to extract a direct emotional response from the viewer. His fascination with transforming ordinary objects into meditative pieces that spark conversation allows him to create art that is accessible to a wide audience. Acuff’s passion for color, pattern, and intuitive processes inform his work, while his obsession with flowing line work and cursive handwriting are distinctive characteristics of his style. Michael finds inspiration in the things he loves - skatebording, music, diners, and his apricot puggle, Fenway.

Born as a military kid in Bethesda, Maryland, Sarah Jeanne Adkins eventually found her way to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to earn a BA in Studio Art and BS in Biology. Her visual work has been exhibited from Birmingham to San Salvador, and in the Bahamas. She has had performance artworks shown at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Southern College, and the Southern Regional Honors Conference (Greenville, SC, and Savannah, GA), and has published in Sanctuary Literary Magazine as well as in scientific journals. Her awards include an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and an Arts & Social Good Grant. Adkins is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at UAB studying ways to integrate art into the science classroom -- ask her how you can paint with microbes, too!


Barbara Hirschowitz studied painting under Alabama artists and educators, Edith Frohock and Alvin Sella. Under Frohock’s guidance, Hirschowitz learned to stretch her thinking and skills. She utilizes canvas and paper to visualize her work from a history of living moments. With confident and colorful layers, she describes hybrid spaces and unknown places–rendered in a familiar manner–often prompting the viewer to question if they may recognize it from their own past. The element of space has always been present in her work, and her current projects evoke simplicity and reduction.  She describes this work as being one of ambiguity in which a physical encounter is left.