Exhibition Duration: February 3-10, 2012
Opening Reception: February 3 @ 6:30pm
Curator: Kathryn Mecca
Live Music By: TBD
Alfa Art Gallery is proud to host our first annual Black History Month Celebration exhibition.
Since 1976, Black History Month has been celebrated nationally during the month of February. It is a time to commemorate important African-American figures and celebrate the crucial role they have played in American and World History.
This group exhibition combines the works of seven talented local artists who draw upon a rich history to communicate a unique cultural perspective. And they approach this perspective using a broad array of techniques and media: Narrative photography is used to document and define personal identities, abstracted yet powerful sculpture communicates strength and suffering, and realistic portraiture explores popular American culture and the sense of community. Together, these works capture the importance of this unique perspective in a well-rounded, yet powerful collection.
About the Artists
Paul Jeter is a draftsman, writer and painter based out of New York City. His most recent works depict the rhetoric between realism and abstraction; viewer and self; idolatry and society; morality and heroism. His watercolor series entitled “Moral Authorities” considers cultural identity through modern day icons. His recognizable portraits capture such memorable subjects as Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Cosby, Jimi Hendrix, and Elvis Presley. Their unique aesthetic is a reflection of his commercial technique, photographic realism and his background in printmaking. He combines an intricate line work with flattened planes of color to develop a sort of tension in the finished product. A tension similar to what is created by moral authorities when they intrude on our personal lives by telling us how to live. Paul received his BFA from Hartford Art School in
Roberta Rose finds inspiration for her mixed media collages in discarded photographs. She pairs found images with delicate patterns and materials to develop nostalgic compositions. When looking at her works, it is like the experience of remembering. The old, faded photographs seem to regain life in the way they rise up to the surface and vaguely relate to the artifacts that surround them. Heavy in layers and texture, the finished product seems to take on a life of its own. Her award winning works have been featured in many galleries throughout the tri-state area and are featured in the permanent collection of the New York City Public Library.
Michael Gyampo is an award winning sculptor and painter. Originally from Ghana, his works have been exhibited and collected internationally, including such distinguished recipients as Carnegie Center, the Bronx Museum, Johnson & Johnson, Nabisco Headquarters and the Nissan Corporation. His works stem from themes of identity, religion, and the challenges of the human condition and are extremely versatile in context, form, medium and expression. His primitive yet forceful images communicate a possible yearning to embody one’s true identity with their stylized portrayals of the figure and bold nationalistic imagery. They command attention, yet remain deeply sensitive and spiritual. Michael has taught at the Johnson Technical Institute of Sculpture and the NJ School of the Arts program. He has guest lectured at many institutions including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Clifford Ward’s sculptures, masks and paintings have been exhibited extensively throughout the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. Dance lies at the center of his works. Dancers in mid flight, and their ability to create gravity defying illusions through body movement particularly fascinate him. He describes these illusions by concentrating on lines, asymmetries and fluid movements. His sculptures have a certain lightness and grace to them, which seems to evolve the longer one looks. Clifford currently maintains a studio at the Grounds for Sculpture, located in Hamilton, NJ and rated among the top ten sculpture parks in the USA.
Leroy White has been drawing and painting since the age of 10. His emphatic narrative pastel drawings capture their viewer in moments of extreme emotion by using serene and often celebratory imagery. From joyful choirs and colorful street merchants to excited children playing on the beach, his works recreate everyday moments of beauty as he experiences them. These drawings are infused with energy by his use of vibrant colors and dynamic compositions. Leroy finds his inspiration in his family, church community and friends. He is a member of the Pastel Society of New Jersey and currently teaches Graphic Design and Animation at the Anthem Institute in Jersey City.
Autin Dean Wright has been exhibiting his award winning sculptures internationally for over 25 years. Born and raised in Jamaica, Autin moved to the United States in 1987. His modern compositions are clean, sleek and highly abstract. They are minimalist, yet forceful with a loud presence. It is quite possible that their simplified form may be their strongest feature; they seem to be able to speak loudest with the fewest words spoken. These smooth, highly polished masses appear to have a vitalistic energy to them, emphasized even further by their large, life-like size. And it is clear, when looking at these works, that the artist’s confidence has taken shape. Autin’s work was included in the National Fine Arts Exhibition in Jamaica and he was the recipient of the Simon Bolivar Sculpture Competition Award hosted by the Venezuela Embassy in Jamaica. He currently lives in Trenton and maintains a studio at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey.