Boseman Gallery’s 2021 scholarship recipient Ann Miller Finch reclaims the female nude with her exhibit “The Reach of Our Arms”

Caroline Straubel , Contributing Writer

The Ann Flack Boseman Gallery announced their 2021 scholarship winneras Ann Miller Finchstudio art major from Raleigh, North Carolina.

The art history department offers an annual merit scholarship for a UNC Wilmington (UNCW) studio art major and grants a personal exhibition in the gallery, which ilocated on the second floor of the Fisher University Union.  

The exhibition will be on display to the public in the gallery, until March 29, 2021. virtual tour of the exhibition is available and will be available after the physical gallery is removed. 

Finch’s exhibition is entitled “The Reach of Our Arms,” it features paintings of the female nude in various stages of a woman’s life. The exhibition is a “celebration” of women’s involvement in figure drawing. Women were excluded from figure drawing courses until the late 19th century, and females were not able to learn how to paint their own bodies in a formal environment.  

“Women have always been capable of doing these things, but have not had the opportunities to do so, I just want everyone to celebrate how far we have come, what we can do, and what we are capable of,” Miller Finch said. 

The titles of the paintings are based on the Maya Angelou poem “Phenomenal Woman, which focuses on the value of a woman and the elements of the female body and inspire painting titles such as “A Hive of Honey Bees,” an acrylic painting with a gold color scheme, of the female nude figure. 

“[the poem] represents everything I want to celebrate about women in general, not just our bodies, but everything we have to offer,” Miller Finch said. 

In a description of the exhibition for the galley, Miller Finch calls her work an “exploration of different mediums and techniques, the movement and vivacity of the female body and its humanity are portrayed.”  

The exhibition features paintings with an array of mediums inspired partly by the Matissstyle of collages, the ink wash technique and previous figure painting Miller Finch has done for studio art courses. The pieces were also influenced by Miller Finch’s background in textiles. She has a Bachelor of science in fashion and textile management from North Carolina State University. 

Miler Finch designed the exhibition by “planning each wall, with some monochromatic, or primary colors,” to develop a color scheme for a painting before beginning the piece. 

Hunter Jones, the 2020-2021 Boseman Gallery intern and exhibition coordinator is intrigued by Miller Finch’s collection, because of “how diverse her style is. You would never guess that all of the pieces in there were hers, simply because each is different and unique.”  

“I feel [Miller Finch] did what she set out to do in providing a description of the female nude that is authentic and could only be achieved by one such as herself,” Jones said. 

The paintings in the gallery are available for purchase. One of the pieces, What they see in me,” has been purchased by the Boseman gallery for the permanent collectionOther pieces of Miller Finch’s art and commissions are available on her website.