Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Ebony Creations" at Edwardsville Arts Center

-->by Emily Botkin

Dean Mitchell. Forgive Us Lord. Watercolor on Paper, 18”x24”.

Ebony Creations” is an exciting and new exhibit on display at the Edwardsville Art Center, located next to Edwardsville High School in Edwardsville, Illinois. The exhibit opened January 10 and remains on view through February 28.

Adrianne Patel . Outerlimits III. Watercolor, Mixed Media on Paper, 32”x36”.

This multi-media exhibit displays the works of 30 artists represented by the Portfolio Gallery, a Gallery and Education Center in St. Louis that seeks to raise awareness on African American artists and their heritage. Although not every artist is from the St. Louis area, each one of them is tied to St. Louis in one way or another. Some of the artists were born and raised in the St. Louis area and remained there their whole life, or some have recently settled in St. Louis. Yet, even though each artist may not be a St. Louis native, each and every one of the artists participating in the “Ebony Creations” exhibition relates through their African heritage or ancestry and how it has inspired their art.

Manuelita Brown. Verity 1. 10”.

Ebony Creations” holds a wide selection of artworks in all different types of mediums–digital photographs, gouache, oils, acrylics, watercolors, art quilts, color etchings, ceramics, monoprints, and more. Each piece of art is different from the next and every artwork takes the idea of “What is the African-American heritage?” and turns it into something completely original from other works of art in the exhibit. Some artists expressed their ideas of African American heritage differently from one-another, yet they all thrived on the inspiration of their ancestry and cultural roots. 

Rick Fragger. It's Offering Time. Gouche on Paper, 24”x32”.

Music was a key theme relayed in many of the artworks. Many of the artists referred to the age of jazz music, or music’s healing powers (and how it helped provide a rhythmic soul). Others looked to historical characters of influence such as the Tuskegee Airmen or Rosa Parks.

Kenneth Calvert. Blues Festival. Oil on Canvas, 26”x36”.

This exhibit is well worth the visit, especially if one wants to know more about the African-American Heritage and the themes to help influence the art on display. From an artists’ perspective, “Ebony Creations” is an enriching and exciting chance to view the vast amounts of culturally-influenced art that will surely inspire someone to dig into their own heritage as inspiration.

Emily Botkin is currently serving a Winter 2014 Internship at Art Saint Louis. She is a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville working towards a BA in Art History with Minors in Studio Art and German. She plans to graduate this year.

Ebony Creations” was curated by Robert A. Powell, Founder, Executive Director of Portfolio Gallery & Educational Center. The exhibit remains on view through February 28, 2014 at Edwardsville Arts Center, 6165 Center Grove Road (on the Campus of Edwardsville High School), Edwardsville, IL 62025. 618/655-0337. Gallery is free & open to the public Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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