Artist creates new exhibit in Singletary Center


Craig Drennen, an artist based out of Atlanta, speaks to a cameraman on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell

By Hajin Yoo

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Students can see art in action this week at the UK Art Museum with a live-drawing exhibition on the second floor.

“HELLO 44,” a combination painting of Shakespeare and UK basketball, is being created by Atlanta-based artist Craig Drennen at the Art Museum in the Singletary Center from 12-5 p.m. every day until Friday.

Drennen has worked on creating basketball paintings for the past year.

Since 2008, he has been dedicated to and drawn inspiration from the characters of Shakespeare’s largely unknown play, “Timon of Athens.”

The play was written late in Shakespeare’s life and is considered to be one of his most underappreciated.

“That made it very attractive,” Drennen said.

For this project, Drennen said, the basketball represents a character in the play named Poet.

With a temporary studio set up for him, Drennen spends his afternoons at the museum developing his piece as visitors observe. Since Monday, Drennen began painting every day on the second floor of the Art Museum, where 4,800 pieces are routinely shown. On Saturday, Drennen will discuss his paintings as well as other issues in art.

Next to the in-progress canvas hangs a custom-made leather jacket with “Timon of Athens,” printed in gilded letters.

Drennen dedicated the painting to honor basketball superstar and Hall of Famer Dan Issel, an NCAA basketball champion who played under UK coach Adolph Rupp and wore the number 44.

Drennen said he is interested in how numbers, words and images combine and form a bouquet that, for a brief moment, feels like it means something.

Stuart Horodner, the artistic director of the Art Museum, hopes to attract more UK students to the museum through Drennen’s exhibition.

“(Students) may not be active lovers (of art) … but all of a sudden maybe people in the basketball team or UK art enthusiasts or especially new students may come over,” Horodner said.

Horodner said Drennen’s temporary studio production in the museum will bring a different dynamic to the culture of conventional art galleries, as the museum will no longer simply be a place to contemplate art, but also a place where art happens.

“I think students could have an amazing set of new things that they could encounter,” Horodner said. “The Museum is a hidden gem.”