With the fourth exhibition in their
“Art of the
” series, Baltimore’s Galerie Myrtis
its mission to cultivate a community of artists and art collectors of local,
regional, national, and international scope. The gallery has stated
series intends to “[Explore] the role of the collector in preserving our visual
heritage through works which connect us to our past and serve as a bridge to
our future,” emphasizing African American and African fine arts and crafts. The
show features more than a dozen artists, including some involved in the Harlem
of the 1920s.
Painter and printmaker Jacob Lawrence
grew up in
Harlem and learned his craft from its great artists, including Charles Alston
Bannarn. Lawrence said
of his work,
“I wanted to show …a peasant class in America. It was a great epic drama taking
place in America.” His 1990 serigraph, Genesis Creation V
his populism and interest in people. It depicts God as a preacher standing at a
podium in the foreground, watched by a congregation of heavenly attendants,
dressed in colorful suits and dresses. Lawrence’s expressive conflation of
divine action and its celebration in church beautifully encapsulates the mood,
ideas, and sentiments of the people he sought to honor.
The Ethiopian-born Alexander
was known for his brilliant melding of Western
modernism with decorative and artisan crafts of Africa, the Middle East, and Latin
America, sharing affinities with artists such as Roberto Matta
and Lucas Grogan
. In his
paintings, Boghossian employs layers of diaphanous color and abstract forms
that allude to figures and space, without depicting them naturalistically.
Works such as Untitled
(1976) resemble all-over Abstract
painting in many ways, but his interest in repetition and
patterning is unique.
sculptures refer to ceremonial objects and artisan crafts from non-Western
cultures, but he treats them with contemporary techniques and ideas. Similar to
’s flocked masks and “shield” sculptures, Love’s work uses new
materials, such as welded steel, with forms that recall traditional artworks.
The small figures that Love makes are all imbued with specific personalities
and qualities. Although Bird V
(1995) is made of hard, reflective
metal, Love’s interest in music and dance permeates the sculpture’s form and
gives it vibrancy.