Monday, August 8, 2011

National Black Arts Festival 2011: Visual Arts Highlights

The official dates of the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) in Atlanta, Georgia were July 07-17, 2011; however, some activities preceded those dates and others, such as art exhibitions, will last much longer. I always find the NBAF an exhilarating time because of the opportunity it provides to reunite with old friends and to meet new friends and acquaintances who have a deep passion and love for the black visual and performing arts. Having this opportunity to engage with like minds and to view and discuss the arts is the greatest benefit.

The strength of the 2011 Festival, as it relates to the visual arts, rested on a vast array of black focused exhibitions that were featured in and around Atlanta. The venues included museums, private and commercial galleries, and institutional galleries. This post will simply highlight four of those exhibitions.

Bill Lowe Gallery
Thornton Dial: Disaster Areas

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation and the Bill Lowe Gallery present Thornton Dial: Disaster Areas - "an epic look at destruction and regenerative forces of nature and how they impact our lives." The exhibition is a tribute to survivorship and the resiliency of the human spirit. 

Thornton Dial, Jesus Christ in the Coal Mine,
2008, Mixed media on canvas, 105" x 76" x 8"
This exhibition "examines works made by Dial over the past four years dealing with various disasters, natural and man-made. From the wreckage and rubble of destruction Dial constructs complex and beautiful assemblages that illustrate the fragility of the human condition but affirm the profound belief that we are all in this together." Dial's assemblages of found objects are monumental in structure and breathtaking as artistic documentation of tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, coal mining catastrophes, and terrorist attacks. The disasters and the resulting emotional impact featured in this body of work are not only local, but national and international in scope.

As mentioned in the Gallery overview statement for the exhibition, "the inevitable visual imprints left by these images are re-worked by Dial into compositions that tell the more complex stories of individual lives affected, the unequal hardships that the poor are forced to endure, and the role of the artist as documentarian."

Thornton Dial, Disaster Area, 2011,
Mixed media on canvas, 72" x 92" x 8"

Thornton Dial, Louisiana, 2011,
Mixed media on panel, 72" x 74" x 6" 

Thornton Dial, Japan, Mixed media on canvas,
108" x 79" x 9" 
Thornton Dial: Disaster Areas is on view through August 27, 2011. Read more on Thornton Dial, and visit Bill Lowe Gallery.

High Museum of Art
Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine

Radcliffe Bailey, Windward Coast, 2009-2011,
Piano keys, plaster bust, and glitter,
Dimensions vary, Courtesy of
 Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine, which is the most comprehensive exhibition of art by Bailey to date, is organized by the High Museum of Art, and is on view through September 11, 2011. The exhibition includes 37 works, ranging from intimate scale to heroic, that represent an array of media: installations, paintings, sculptures, mixed media, photos, and works on paper.

Memory as Medicine is organized around three underlying themes: Water, Blues, and Blood. "Water invokes the Black Atlantic Passage as a site of historical trauma as it highlights the fluidity of culture and traces Bailey's own artistic and spiritual journey. Blues includes works that point to the importance of music as a transcendent art form. Blood focuses on ideas related to ancestry, race, memory, struggle, and sacrifice." 

A brief explanation on the High Museum's Website speaks to the meaning behind Windward Coast (image above.) See HIGHLIGHT

Although I missed the artist talk, I was able to attend an enlightening and informative lecture by the curator, Carol Thompson. Listen to Carol and Radcliffe in this video which is the first of a four-part series that will be released throughout the run of the exhibition. A catalogue accompanies this exhibition.

ACA Gallery of SCAD
Woodruff Arts Center
Trenton Doyle Hancock: We Done All
We Could And None Of It's Good

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) presents a solo exhibition, Trenton Doyle Hancock: We Done All We Could and None of It's Good. 
Trenton Doyle Hancock, Torpedo Boy and
Heiren Hazo, 2010, Mixed media on paper,
10" x 6¼"
 "Hancock is best known for his ongoing narrative and theatrical installations that draw the viewer into his personal, idiosyncratic, dynamic and at times, heretical weave of words, characters and images. We Done All We Could And None Of It's Good signals a new chapter in Hancock's ongoing fictitious narrative that follows the lives of Vegans and Mounds, two species locked in an epic ideological struggle."

This exhibition will be on view at its current location through August 28, 2011, and will move to the SCAD Gutstein Gallery (Savannah, GA) on September 15 - November 15, 2011. For further information, see SCAD. To view other works by Trenton Doyle Hancock, see James Cohan Gallery.

AVISCA Fine Art Gallery
Freddie Styles and Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier:

Naturally, an exhibition featuring Freddie Styles and Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier, opened July 16, 2011 at Avisca Fine Art Gallery in Marietta, Georgia. It was exciting to be present and part of this well-attended opening reception. In addition to Freddie and Lynn, the reception guests included a number of other artists, both locally and from across the country, as well as an equal number of collectors.

The exhibition, Freddie Styles and Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier:
Naturally, presents current and recent works on paper by the two Atlanta artists. It "highlights the primacy of nature and the natural environment in the work of both artists, each working within different aesthetics and traditions."

Both artists will be featured in an Artists Talk on Sunday, August 28, 2011, 4 - 6 pm. View the online catalogue. For further information, call: 770/ 977-2732 or visit Avisca Gallery.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the fantastic links and write ups. There's so much good info here, I hardly know where to start reading!