TPCAC | P.O. Box 863 | Troy, AL 36081 | (334) 670-2287

Michael Vaughn Sims: CONSTRUCTIONS

July 19–October 7, 2017
Lower Galleries

Michael Vaughn Sims is an independent visual artist and theatrical designer who resides in rural Lowndes County, Alabama.  He was the recipient of the Visual Art Fellowship for 2014-2015 from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  He is a signature member of the Watercolor Society of Alabama and a member of the Montgomery Art Guild and Prattauga Art Guild.  He is also a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.  Sims has been affiliated with Stonehenge Gallery of Montgomery since 2013.

Sims was born in 1965 at Mobile, Alabama, the last of five children of a Baptist minister.  He received early education in the public schools in Selma, Alabama.  He received the Bachelor of Fine Art with Highest Honors from Auburn University in 1989.  Graduate studies at Yale School of Drama culminated in the Master of Fine Arts from Yale University in 1992.

Sims began a theatrical design career in Brooklyn, New York, designing sets and costumes for regional theatres, universities, conservatories and Off-Broadway companies.  He has worked in television, film and industrial design, and assisted other designers on major productions for Broadway, as well as for international ballet and opera.  He has received multiple awards for his set designs in Southern California.  Teaching credentials include Princeton University and Ohio University.

In 2008 he returned to Alabama to pursue fine art on a fulltime basis.  He has demonstrated watercolor painting at the Auburn Rural Studio in Newbern, Alabama and at Wares Ferry Elementary School in Montgomery.  His work has been collected by the City of Prattville, the Alabama Historical Commission, Auburn University Montgomery School of Nursing, Jackson Hospital Foundation and numerous private collectors.  Sims recently completed his first public art commission, a set of large painted banners for Artbeat of Columbus, Georgia.

Artist’s Statement—

For the past three years I have been working with increasing frequency on three-dimensional works in an experimental manner.  I have used these experiments as a way to understand my feelings about Alabama, particularly where they relate to the themes of home and family and the passing of time.  I have been concerned with my place in the family circle, about heritage, the ephemeral nature of life and relationships and the hope for life eternal.  Many of my pieces use sticks and vines that are taken from the woods that surround my home, and I am inspired by the perseverance and conquering power of the natural world.  As I continue my work, I would like to make constructions of ever-increasing size, working out of doors to build structures that combine art and plant material that people may pass through and under and around, like ruins of cathedrals overcome with vines - - landmarks of an Alabama culture that is hidden behind the trees.  I strive to make my mark with dignity, but instinctively I know that the only trace I leave behind may be the natural increase of the garden I have planted, the seeds carried to the surrounding fields and forests by the migrating birds. 

“I am a pilgrim and a stranger
Traveling through this wearisome land.
I’ve got a home in that yonder city, Good Lord
And its not, not made by hand.”