Thursday, January 30, 2014

COLLEGE PARK: Charles White

Charles White, Jubilee, 1974, Oil on board. Courtesy of Landau Traveling Exhibitions/Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

Heroes: Gone But Not Forgotten…
January 30 – May 23, 2014

Opening reception: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 5:00 - 7:00pm

1214 Union Drive
College Park, MD

Charles White – Heroes: Gone But Not Forgotten…, contains 47 works created by artist Charles White, features drawings, prints, and paintings spanning from the 1930s to the 1970s. From early drawings to works that incorporate the experience of a lifetime, the works in this exhibition represent a broad slice of a storied and rich career.

Charles White (1918-1979) flourished in the face of conflict. His work draws much of its strength from the racism he faced during his childhood in Chicago. In the later part of his career, he struggled to maintain a representational style when the mainstream of American art was shifting towards the Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism of artists like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock; again, these difficulties served as a catalyst to propel the quality and scope of his work. White envisions steadfast heroes: heroes not born of privilege or power, but rather created by the achievement of the human spirit.

Whether the piece is a drawing, painting, linocut, or lithograph, White uses strong lines to instill in his richly detailed figures a sense of dignity and quiet heroism. In Awaiting His Return (1946, charcoal on paper), White presents a woman, head in hand, eyes sad yet hopeful. The altered perspective lines of the drawing invite the viewer to look beyond what is plainly visible; the soft charcoal shading contained within the harsh, sharply angular confines of her body indicate the distances between pain and resolve—the struggle of the hero.

The majority of the works in this exhibition—the largest collection of White’s work displayed in several decades—have never before been seen. The works come from the Arthur Primas Collection, which includes more than five hundred works of art by African American artists and artists of the Diaspora. The exhibition is curated by Charlotte Sherman of the Heritage Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. It is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions and has traveled to the North Carolina Central University Art Museum in Durham, North Carolina in 2012; the exhibition will continue to travel following its closing at the Driskell Center.

In conjunction with the Heroes exhibition, the David C. Driskell Center is proud to feature several works by Charles White from the Center’s permanent art collection, most notably Sammy Davis Jr. (1959, graphite drawing mounted onto acrylic painted board) and Creole Madonna (1934, color crayon on paper), recently donated to the Center from the Sandra and Lloyd Baccus Collection. In addition, the Center will organize a Drawnathon, a day when students and local art enthusiasts will attempt to complete the longest drawing ever created at the University of Maryland, College Park campus. The event will be held on Saturday, April 26, 2014. Additional details will be available on Driskell Center website.

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