Margaret T. Burroughs, Three Souls, 1964. Oil on board, 10 3/8 x 14 in. Paul R. Jones Collection, University Museums, University of Delaware
Felrath Hines, Snowbanks, 1959. Oil on canvas board, 19 ¾ x 23 ¾ in. University Museums, University of Delaware. Gift of Dorothy C. Fisher, wife of the artist.
Bill Hutson, Maiden Voyage, 1987. Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28 1/4 in. Paul R Jones Collection, University Museums, University of Delaware
FreshPAINT: African American Art @ UD
February 12 – June 28, 2014
With a focus on painting, this exhibition showcases works from the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American art alongside recent acquisitions. Using the words Fresh and Paint playfully and reflexively, the selection calls attention to methods and materials as well as content and style. The most recent bequests on view are two streetscapes by renowned Delaware artist, Edward L. Loper, Sr. (1916-2011).
Many of the works on view date to the mid- to late-twentieth century, reflecting the collecting history, habits and aesthetics of the Atlanta collector Paul R. Jones (1928-2010). Since its donation to UD in 2001 the Paul R. Jones gift of African American art has served as a point of departure for a growing collection of art by artists from America and the African diaspora.
Autumn in Georgia (c. 1931) by Hale Aspacio Woodruff and Snowbanks (1959) by Felrath Hines, are among the earliest works on view and, with the two Loper paintings, set an important tone for the exhibition as a whole. Hale Woodruff (1900-1980), a painter, muralist and printmaker, was a long-term member of the Atlanta University faculty and responsible for establishing that university’s art program. Autumn in Georgia exemplifies the American regionalist style he favored before moving more decisively towards abstraction. Felrath Hines (1913-1993) was highly regarded in the field of art conservation as a paintings conservator. Snowbanks reveals Hines’s early interest in brushy lyricism and expressionism, a mode later supplanted by hard-edge, geometric abstraction. Committed to abstraction from the late 1950s onward, Woodruff and Hines joined fellow artists in the collective known as Spiral in 1963. Discussions among the artists centered on aesthetic, social and cultural concerns, including debates over the social responsibility of the artist and artistic content.
These conversations continue today, and FreshPAINT bears witness to the multitudinous ways in which artists have responded. Jack Whitten, Bill Hutson, Frank Bowling, James Little and others represented in the exhibition favor form as content; their works have made and continue to make significant contributions to abstract painting in American art. Balancing these strengths in abstraction is a selection of paintings in which the figure dominates, as in Margaret T. Burroughs’s Three Souls (1964) and Amos Ashanti Johnson’s Muhammad Ali (1978). Abstraction and figuration merge brilliantly in Floyd Coleman’s African Sculpture Revisited (1973) and Peter Williams’s Absolutely Hilarious (1997). A professor of art in UD’s Department of Art, Williams’s painting takes center stage in FreshPAINT as it seems to brilliantly digest and re-present the delightful miscellany of modes on view in Mechanical Hall Gallery. A synthesized lexicon that includes the comic, the surreal, and the abstract, as well as portraiture and pastiche, Absolutely Hilarious brings painterly sense to the assorted paintings.
While celebrating the creative energies of many artists, FreshPAINT foregrounds important questions relative to gender and race in the history of painting and collecting in America. Shifting the perspective toward African American painting in the permanent collection brings new attention to representational weaknesses, most particularly a gender imbalance. Black women artists are far better represented through other media in UD’s permanent collection.
FreshPAINT was co-curated by Robert Straight, Professor of painting in the Department of Art and Julie L. McGee, Curator of African American Art
Monday, February 24, 12:30-1:15 p.m.
Perspectives Curatorial Conversation
Julie L. McGee and Robert Straight
Join co-curators for a discussion of FreshPAINT. This event is presented in conjunction with the Department of Black American Studies’ Black Studies All Day All Night speaker series.
Coffee and cider served 12 – 2 p.m.
Location: Mechanical Hall Gallery
Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, 7:30 p.m.
The University of Delaware Dance Minor presents: (non)fiction
The 3rd Annual Dance Minor Concert will feature an evening of diverse choreographic works by guest artists Teresa Emmons, Elijah Gibson, Maren Hassinger, Sekou & Marilyn Sylla, and Vincent Thomas as well as dance minor faculty Janice Bibik, Lynnette Overby, Kimberly Schroeder & Sarah Kim Vennard.
For more information, contact Kimberly Schroeder, Dance Minor Director, at email@example.com or 302-831-3311.
Location: Mitchell Hall
Tuesday, March 18, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture
This year’s Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture features artist Jonathan Green in a symposium presented in conjunction with UD professors Gabrielle Foreman and Lynnette Overby, poet Glenis Redmond, Towson Professor of Dance, Vincent Thomas, choreographer, Teresa Emmons, composer, Ralph Russell and undergraduate research scholar, Audrey Wright. Green's 1998 series of paintings about the life of David Drake (Dave the Potter) served as an important inspiration for a collaboration that produced the research, poetry, choreography and composing that informs the choreographic suite, "All My Relations." Video and live performance will be a part of the symposium.
For more information, visit www.udel.edu/ihrc/projects/2013/2013-couplet-pots.html
Location: Gore Recital Hall
Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m.
Associate Professor, Department of Art
Location: Gore Hall, Room 116