A new exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum celebrates the acquisition of 11 drawings from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Black Southern artists and their communities.
Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South, on view in the Morgan’s Thaw Gallery through January 16, 2022, focuses on drawings by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young. One or two generations removed from slavery and subjected to the abuses of Jim Crow, these artists developed formal techniques using found materials and skills learned outside the classroom and studio. Many, including Dial, Rowe, and Lonnie Holley, exhibited their creations at their homes in elaborate “yard shows,” drawing the attention of passerby and art world figures alike.
The focus of this intimate exhibition, which also incorporates institutional and private loans of works by Holley, Rowe, Sister Gertrude Morgan, and Bill Traylor, is the medium of drawing. While some works in the gallery were produced on traditional artist’s papers, others incorporate the unique qualities of found supports. The range of media includes watercolor, ballpoint pen, crayon, and even glitter.
Although each of the eight artists featured in Another Tradition speaks with a distinctive voice, the show intends to illuminate the formal and thematic connections that arise from their shared geographies and experiences.
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Art by Athena LaTocha, Wendy Red Star, Marianne Nicolson, Anita Fields, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Neal Ambrose-Smith, and more is on view through January 2022.
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