CHARLESTON, SC.- The Gibbes Museum of Art
presents two new exhibitions starting today July 22 through October 16, 2011. The Creative Spirit: Vernacular Art from the Gadsden Arts Center Permanent Collection, organized by the Gadsden Arts Center in Quincy, Florida, will be on view in the Main Gallery. The Creative Spirit features paintings, drawings, and sculpture by the foremost self-taught artists of the American South. In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in PreCivil War New Orleans is co-organized by Worcester Art Museum and The Historic New Orleans Collection. The exhibition, on view in the Gibbes Rotunda Galleries, is the first retrospective of the brief but important career of portraitist Julien Hudson, one of the earliest-documented free artists of color working in the 19th century.
The complimentary nature of these two exhibitions underscores our desire to present new and interesting juxtapositions to our community. Both exhibitions document the power of the creative spirit in the face of adversity, stated Angela D. Mack, Executive Director.
The Creative Spirit: Vernacular Art from the Gadsden Arts Center Permanent Collection
The Creative Spirit: Vernacular Art from the Gadsden Arts Center Permanent Collection showcases the expressive artwork created by self-taught artists who are driven by their creative spirit. Centered around works of art by the most acclaimed southern vernacular artist, Thornton Dial Sr., the exhibition also includes other well known self-taught artists such as Lonnie Holley, Joe Light, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, and Purvis Young.
Most of the artists represented in the exhibition are of African-American descent and have lived in rural parts of the Deep South for a significant period in their lives. The artists share many characteristics including growing up in poverty with limited education and exposure to the outside world and a strong religious upbringing and family influence. The Creative Spirit demonstrates the communal and therapeutic function that art can play in the lives of artists.
Thornton Dial, Sr.
Discovered by the curator and art collector William Arnett in 1987, Thornton Dial, Sr. is viewed by many curators as one of the great creative minds of our time. He is widely known for his representations of the tiger which he uses as a symbol of the African-American mans struggle for freedom, and for giving new life to found materials through his artwork. He collects old carpet, rope, fence, clothes and more to build his art and then uses paint to finish the piece. For most of his life, Thornton Dial Sr. was unaware that he was making art; he was just acting on an unconscious need to create things. His art brings attention to such themes as racial inequality, relationships between men and women, and struggles in the modern world. The Indianapolis Museum of Art is currently touring his first career retrospective exhibition titled Hard Truths.