Shades, tints, hues, tones, saturation…color, color, color! When entering The Kelly’s new exhibit, you’re struck by vivid colors. The huge painting to the left of the door draws you closer, and you suddenly see the color of the skin: not black, not brown, but an absolutely brilliant delicate maze of both, celebrating African-American beauty just as this exhibit celebrates African-American art.
Several African-American artists are featured. One of them, Nyaradazai (try pronouncing THAT) Mahachi, is a young African woman from Zimbabwe. She says she loves studying at Auburn University Montgomery, but she get to fly home every summer. One of her friends recently scolded her for offering to sell some work for $10. It’s worth 10x, even 100x, that! She has her own outstanding style, using layers of lines and spatters over or under human images.
Serendipitously, Larry Allen’s pottery is crafted with colors similar to hers. This master potter uses “black stoneware clay with multiple glazings and firings” and gains inspiration for his intricate designs from African-American and Native American art.
In yet another medium, photographer Joi West is drawn to the concept of family relationships.
A member of our own Kelly family, Marilyn Winborn collects a totally different art form: trade beads from Africa. She is loaning some of her most precious beads to The Kelly for display and has also made jewelry for sale from some of her interesting and very colorful beads.
Those mentioned above are just a few of the featured artists, but the exhibit also includes exciting abstracts by Regina Thomas, metalwork sculpture by Charlie Lucas (his sculpture is waiting for her social security check, but look what she got instead!), primitive painting by Bernice Sims, and a painted shelf by Mose T. They are supplemented, as usual, by related works by Kelly Art Associates. Again, here are just a few of the many pieces on display.
We have a pastel by Kathy Atchison of the local quilting group that meets in the Black Museum and even a watercolor on music, a portrait of Aretha Franklin, by Marty Woodall. The range of mediums is remarkable.
If you didn’t make it to the reception because of the horrible tornadic weather, treat yourself to a visit now that it’s clear. You have until March 10 (Tuesday-Saturday, 10-5 p.m.); you’re sure to enjoy our non-profit gallery, now The Kelly Fitzpatrick Center for the Arts.
–L. J. Christensen