The Harvey B. Gantt Center kicked off Black History Month with the unveiling of four new exhibits highlighting women, African history, reflective art and human emotion. All four of the exhibits will run through July 29, 2018.
By and About Women: The Collection of Dr. Dianne Whitfield-Locke and Dr. Carnell Locke. Dr. Whitfield-Locke and her husband, Dr. Carnell Locke, are avid art collectors and are also committed supporters of artists and African-American art institutions.
By and About Women highlights selected works from their extensive collection which were either created by female artists or feature women as the subject. Like their larger collection, this exhibition represents a comprehensive history of art-making in general, and African-American art, specifically.
Sculpture, sketches, oils, acrylics, paintings and collages fill the gallery.
Masterpieces by pioneering women like Betye Saar, Camille Billops, Samella Lewis, Elizabeth Catlett, Emma Amos, Lois Mailou Jones, Faith Ringgold, and Augusta Savage headline the exhibit.
A Creative Journey: The Collection of Judy and Patrick Diamond began during a year-long residence in East Africa when the couple were fresh out of graduate school and has continued throughout their life together. Their metaphorical journey reflects the geographic journey of their lives from Boston, where they met, to stops in Tanzania, Williamstown, Massachusetts, Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta.
“We began collecting out of a desire to learn more about the many significant contributions which have been made to American culture by artists of African-American descent,” Patrick said. “Equally important was our interest in providing our son with an introduction to the importance and richness of our African-American heritage.”
“When I was a child growing up in South Carolina, black people were not allowed admission to the City’s art museum. Consequently, I was an adult before my first visit to a museum. We wanted our child to have a different experience, and for our home to further enhance his introduction to the visual arts and history.”
Among the 20th Century African-American artists collected, their collection boast works by Romare Bearden, Margaret Burroughs, Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Richard Hunt, Hale Woodruff, Sam Gilliam, along with 19th Century and early 20th Century icon Henry O. Tanner.
Lillian Blades: Mirrors of Life: Picture frames, buttons, flowers, wood blocks, mirrors and other objects – random to some, but symbolic to Lillian Blades – represent both the artist’s past and present.
These images, like most of her mixed-media collages, incorporate an array of patterns using found objects each holding a special meaning to the artist – picture frames are about capturing memories; buttons symbolize the loss of her mother – a seamstress – and the desire to remain connected; flowers represent her grandmother and her aunt who were both florists.
In addition, these objects are also subjective – leaving room for interpretation and self-reflection by the viewer.
Frankhavemercy: Frequency: Through the lens of a camera, North Carolina-born photographer, designer and filmmaker Frank Jackson III – also known as Frankhavemercy – captures the emotions of pain and joy in his first exhibition, titled Frequency.
“My main goal with art is to inspire people. Period. We can all inspire and help each other. We can’t forget it’s important to connect with those that are right next to us and not just the people that are at the top. Our peers are just as important as our idols,” Frankhavemercy said.