C. Grimaldis Gallery is pleased to present Souls of Mine, an exhibition of new and recent paintings by the nationally recognized artist and 2017 Rome Prize recipient Beverly McIver. This will be her third solo exhibition at C. Grimaldis Gallery.
McIver’s paintings are a voyage in self-revelation from her earlier self-portraits in white face (the clown) to black face (confronting the black stereotype); to the unmasking of her skin, body and feelings as she explores her identity as an artist and as an African American. Her autobiographical work becomes a means to explore “otherness” and its many manifestations, from family roles to racial, gender, social and occupational identities.
New works from her yearlong fellowship at the American Academy in Rome turn her introspective portraiture to “those who courageously share their authentic selves with the world”, depicting black women in body paint, white men in black face, and men dressed in drag. Using the color of makeup and skin to undermine assumptions about beauty and social rejection, she paints, as art critic Raphael Rubinstein describes, both “an expressionist portrait” and a “realist portrait in ‘expressionist’ make-up.”
Writing on McIver’s work, author Sarah Susannah Willie-LeBreton has observed, “McIver ‘raises’ everyone who comes in contact with her paintings…as the artist/performer whose work encourages us to see others with more depth, clarity, and compassion. The artist who has painted her mentally disabled sister laughing with joy, her mother on oxygen in the hospital bed, herself with and without clown makeup dancing and grieving, has placed black women, seen in our everyday banality and complexity, into serious discussions of contemporary art.”
McIver has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, most notably the Anyone Can Fly Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017; Rome Prize Fellowship, 2017; Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2017; Marie Walsh Sharpe Fellowship, 2012-2013 and 2003; Radcliffe Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, 2002; Creative Capital Grant, 2002; John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 2001; and the Anonymous Was A Woman Grant, 2000. In 2011, McIver was named as one of the “Top Ten in Painting” in Art in America. Her work is in museum collections nationwide, including the National Portrait Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Mint Museum, Asheville Art Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art and the Weatherspoon Art Museum. She is the Ebenshade Professor of the Practice in Studio Arts at Duke University.