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Fine/Folk: Modes of Representation in African American Art

Union County Heritage Museum

On view January 12 - March, 2019

Sulton Rogers (Oxford, MS, 5/22/1922 - 4/5/2003, Oxford, MS), Two Blues Singers (detail), 1989, wood and paint. Collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of Warren and Sylvia Lowe,1994.051.

On view at the Union County Heritage Museum from January 12 - March 2, 2019

Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort (CARE) from March 9 - May 3, 2019

This exhibition addresses the aesthetic influences of both folk art and Modern art on African-American artists in the 20th century. The pieces included are derived from a variety of media yet are centralized around the notion of identity and self-representation. Artists like Gwendolyn Magee, Elizabeth Catlett, and Betye Saar took an activist approach in their art by using a vernacular voice to send their strong messages. Clementine Hunter, Mose Tolliver, and Sulton Rogers were self-taught artists whose styles are representative of the traditional folk art, and whose roots are present in the work of Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence. Finally, others, like Mark Gail and Roland Freeman, eschewed the folk aesthetic altogether through their choice of photography, a medium elevated to the fine arts due to its aesthetic capabilities. Though these works span almost 80 years, each artist’s aesthetic voice takes control of the figurative representation of African Americans that for too long was overlooked and under-represented.