ARTISTS OF COLOR
Rock Island – New York
Part of the Great Migration, Knoxville native Joseph Delaney relocated to New York with his brother, fellow artist Beauford Delaney. Joseph Delaney was best known for urban scenes that celebrate the landmarks and liveliness of the city as captured by his signature figures, such as those on the dock in the lower right portion of the painting.
Leonardo Drew, known for his weathered looking, layered abstract pieces such as this one, brings together his personal history, his heritage and his deep understanding of art history in his artwork. While he fabricates all portions of his art, the pieces look as if they might have been made from found objects, reminiscent of the things he used to find among the refuse in the city dump adjacent to his childhood home in the projects of Bridgeport, Connecticut. His interest in distressing his pieces may reflect memories of cherished objects rescued from harsh conditions.
Jiha Moon’s work navigates her bi-cultural identity. As a Korean-born woman who spent most of her adult life in Georgia, Moon integrates generalized Asian symbols, such as fortune cookies, with materials specific to her Korean heritage, such as the Hanji mulberry paper that is the foundation for this piece. She incorporates the peach, which serves both as a reference to the Korean symbol of fortune and the Georgia peach of her home. The blond locks, exotic for a Korean woman, reference U.S. beauty standards.
Alicia Henry’s masked female figure is in striking contrast to the other art works in this gallery in medium, scale and representation. Henry, an art professor at Fisk University, often incorporates masks in her artworks. Aware of the many ways viewers may interpret this hidden gaze, Henry subverts the stereotypes with a focus on the range of emotions that may lie behind the mask. This evidence of hidden personal stories is also seen in the reversed dress and back stitching, a further reference to secrets many people protect and only share with those closest to them.
Robert S. Duncanson
Of African American and Scotch Canadian descent, Duncanson, who worked in Cincinnati and Detroit, was light skinned and often “passed” as white. Colorism, as well as his choice to paint landscapes (popular at that time), allowed him greater access to exhibitions and sales, making him one of the most successful African American painters of his day.
Using old black and white photographs of anonymous subjects, New York artist Whitfield Lovell pays tribute to his African American ancestors. Lovell found a picture of the woman in this artwork at a flea market. Although not known by the artist, the woman represents the many female ancestors whose strength and vision nurtured future generations. The objects in the jars on the shelf below, such as locks of Black hair and coins from the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, are signifiers of events in the artist’s life and of cultural experiences shared by many African Americans.
ADDITIONAL WORKS ON VIEW
Women’s Equality (from the Kent Bicentennial Portfolio: Spirit of Independence), 1975, lithograph, 20/125
Boy’s Head, undated, bronze
Floor 2 Sun Porch
Francis Luis Mora
An Out of Town Trolley, 1916, oil on canvas
To Mary Cassatt (b. 1941), 1979, oil on canvas
The Swearing In (from Inaugural Portfolio), 1977, serigraph
Black Star Family, First Class Tickets to Liberia, 2018, cotton, silk, and denim
Impact, 2018, acrylic on board
Dance Staff, 2005, blown and sandcarved glass
Six Rooms/Six Days, 1999, mixed media & glass
Spatial Interactions Aerographic Forms and Catilevered Confluence, 1990-91, welded bronze, dimensions vary
Lalla Essaydi exhibition works on view.
West Wing, Floor 2
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