Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

Historian, Curator, Author, Lecturer, Artist, Mentor, Founder, and Facilitator — the remarkable and tireless Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi has left her mark on many lives.Trained as an aerospace engineer, Mazloomi turned her sites and tireless efforts in the 1980s to bring the many unrecognized contributions of African American quilt artists to the attention of the American people as well as international art communities.

From the founding of the African-American Quilt Guild of Los Angles in 1981 to the 1985 founding of the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN), Mazloomi has been at the forefront of educating the public about the diversity of interpretation, styles and techniques among African American quilters as well as educating a younger generation of African Americans about their own history through the quilts the WCQN members create.Her pictorial narrative quilts make plain her personal themes: family life, women’s rights, political freedom, and musical legacy.Mazloomi’s quilts have been included in over 74 exhibits and she herself has curated 21 extensive exhibits of quilts made by members of the Women of Color Quilters Network, many of them traveling exhibits.“I look at the quilt makers as culture bearers because there’s a long history of quilt making in this country and I want to see it carried forth to the next generation,”  Mazloomi explains.“And because most of the stories within the African-American quilt community are narratives and tell the story of our culture, what would be more important than people seeing these quilts and noting history?“It’s important because we as a people have our footprint noted on this canvas called American history, so people have to know the role that we played and that we were here and that we contributed positively to history in this country, so it’s important for that aspect.”

More of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi‘s amazing life and quilts can be found at https://carolynlmazloomi.com/.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (midweek) — Woodrow Nash

Born in the late 40’s in Akron, Ohio, Woodrow Nash is the product of sanctified churches, 1950’s television images, and black inner city neighborhood schools run by predominantly white middle-class educators.

Nash’s consuming passion to elevate the human spirit takes the form of sculptures, building a sense of mystery and charisma into each piece. 

Through his work, Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yield striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.Examining the contemporary male and female physique, he explores the body’s natural form and mythology.Incorporating various styles and techniques utilizing stoneware, earthenware, terracotta or porcelain, Nash’s work is fired electronically, pit fired or via a “raku” effect – creating an “African Nouveau” trademark that’s solely his own.While the images are African, in general, the concept is 15th century Benin with the graceful, slender proportions and long, undulating lines of 18th century Art Nouveau.More of Woodrow Nash’s colorful sculptures can be found at https://woodrownashstudios.com/. 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Jacob Lawrence

The most widely acclaimed African American artist of this century, and one of only several whose works are included in standard survey books on American art, Jacob Armstead Lawrence has enjoyed a successful career for more than fifty years.Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1917. The son of Southern migrants, he moved with his mother and sister to Harlem in 1930 at age 13.Lawrence’s paintings portray the lives and struggles of African Americans, and have found wide audiences due to their abstract, colorful style and universality of subject matter.He create paintings drawn from the African American experience as well as historical and contemporary themes, such as war, religion, and civil rights.

In 1940, he received a grant from the Rosenwald Foundation to create a 60-panel epic, The Migration of the Negro (now known as The Migration Series).

The panels portray the migration of over a million African Americans from the South to industrial cities in the North between 1910 and 1940. 

He was credited with developing a unique aesthetic known as Dynamic Cubism, which would be attributed, not to European influences, but to “hard, bright, brittle” Harlem.

More of Jacob Lawrence‘s artwork can be found around the Internet including MOMA Lawrence and  Artnet Lawrence.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Loïs Mailou Jones

Loïs Mailou Jones (1905 – 1998) decided early in her career that she would become a recognized artist—no easy path for an African American girl born at the beginning of the twentieth century.

 

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After two years in North Carolina where she experienced the frustrations and indignities of segregation first-hand, Jones left Palmer Memorial and joined the faculty of the Fine Arts Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

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Jones’s long career may be divided into four phases: the African-inspired works of the early 1930s, French landscapes, cityscapes, and figure studies from 1937 to 1951, Haitian scenes of the 1950s and 1960s, and the works of the past several decades that reflect a return to African themes.

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Loïs was the first and only African American to break the segregation barrier denying African Americans the right to display visual art at public and private galleries and museums in the United States.

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Throughout her 60 year career as an artist and educator, Loïs Mailou Jones broke down barriers with quiet determination during a time when inequality, racial discrimination, and segregation hindered her from gaining the acknowledgement and prestige she deserved as a talented artist.

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Skillfully integrating aspects of African masks, figures, and textiles into her vibrant paintings, Jones continued to produce exciting new works at an astonishing rate of speed, even in her late eighties.

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Loïs Mailou Jones was not only an artist, but a movement, inspiring the Harlem Renaissance and the future of all artists struggling to be heard.

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Lois’s lucious art can be found at http://loismailoujones.com/  and at http://nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles/lo%C3%AFs-mailou-jones.