Life-long North Carolina resident Jerry Goodnight was born in Hickory where he completed high school in 1959 before spending two years in the Navy. He was stationed in Cuba, and there he started painting as a way to pass time. Returning home, he earned a degree in art with Magna Cum Laude honors from Appalachian State University and taught art and history at Hickory’s St. Stephens HS for many years. (He is pictured in 1984 from an August 31 newspaper article about him, and in 2017.)
Goodnight credited Mickey Whitener Coe, HMA's second director, with encouraging him to continue with his art, beginning in college when he would get discouraged. “Mickey Coe is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me” he said in 1984. “She kept me up when I was down. She … would give me pep talks.” He has both exhibited and taught at HMA, including a workshop on kite-making for children.
Goodnight first became known for his portraits such as of U.S. Senator Sam Ervin, Jr., but says “My attitude toward art is that it is an experimental thing. I don’t see any reason for doing art if you are not experimenting.”
His aggressively mirroring Spoons (above) was one of the works featured in the HMA show "Playing with Light: Reflections from the Hickory Museum of Art Collection." (January 13 - March 11, 2018.) The show illustrated how artists use many different surfaces to depict reflections: water, mirrors, windows, and indeed spoons. It was also a reminder that HMA has collected artwork since its inception and continues to collect.
This post is # 23 of the 75 stories to celebrate HMA's 75 years.
Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since our blog's inception in March 2015.