The tumultuous history of race relations in the South has been, in large part, buried and left to fester in the years since the Civil War. While culture is intangible and abstract, its artifacts are available as evidence of its existence. Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised throughout the South, Travis Somerville unapologetically picks at these old wounds by exposing the popular objects and iconography of Southern culture. Somerville’s use of imagery is complex and shaped significantly by his personal relationship to it. His critical eye works in the shadow of his own nostalgia and consequently attempts to reconcile the idealism of his religious upbringing with the racial and political turmoil of his past.
Travis Somerville has garnered critical attention in numerous publications including The Washington Post, Art in America, FlashArt and The Los Angeles Times, and his work is included in numerous Museum collections, including SFMOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego CA, the 21c Museum in Louisville, KY, the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA, the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Travis Somerville was born in 1963 in Atlanta, GA. Growing up in towns throughout the southern United States and along the eastern sea board, he briefly studied at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, finally settling in San Francisco where he attended the San Francisco Art Institute, CA. His large scale oil paintings on paper mounted to canvas incorporate collage and present images of political and cultural icons associated with the history of the south. His work explores the complexities of racism and serves as a point of departure for discussion about US oppression and colonial attitudes abroad. It has been included in numerous museum exhibitions: The University of Georgia, Athens, GA; University of Houston at Clearlake, Houston, TX; de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, CA; Florida A&M University, Tallahasee, FL; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA; Charles Wright Museum, Detroit, MI; The Bass Museum, Miami Beach, FL; Frederick Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA.
Travis Somerville has garnered critical attention in numerous publications including The Washington Post, Art in America, FlashArt and The Los Angeles Times.
His work is included in numerous Museum collections, including SF MoMA; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego CA; the 21c Museum in Louisville, KY; the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA; the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.