Art exhibition in West Chester recognizes Black History Month – Daily Local
WEST CHESTER — To mark Black History Month, the work of 19 African-American artists is on display at the Chester County Art Association through March 2.
More than a dozen sculptures and more than 100 paintings fill the art association’s first exhibit devoted exclusively to black artists.
“A dark thread through time: a personal journey of black artists”, fully fills two galleries.
Art Association director Caitlin LaPorte said Monday that the exhibit was magnificent.
“It’s not something that’s been done here in the past,” LaPorte said. “We would like to continue to exhibit a diverse array of artists.”
Artist Dane Tilghman helped set up the show after Art Association President John Baker suggested the idea of doing something special featuring a diverse range of styles and mediums to mark Black History Month.
Artist Tilghman regularly visits the Library of Congress in Washington where he digs through stacks of black and white photos mostly from the 1930s. The photos are brought to him by staff members and he is required to wear white gloves when the exam.
Tilghman then photographs these colorful characters from the past and, while using mixed media in his studio, transfers them into vivid and colorful paintings.
For “Stepping Out”, or what the Exton resident sometimes calls “Man About Town”, Tilghman portrays a character with “so much confidence in his dress” or a “womanly man – no doubt”.
Tilghman: “He’s got a lot of wisdom – a former player – he’s been there and done it.”
For “Pool Hall”, the artist portrays three “guys you don’t want to play pool with”, inspired by a photo of Memphis from the 1940s or 1950s.
So, who are these people of old?
“They could be my uncles,” Tilghman said with a smile. “My parents were pretty tough.”
Lancaster artist Richard Blake’s sculpture, charcoal and pastel are featured exclusively in a busy gallery.
The many textured and vibrant sculptures that fill the floor space are enhanced by the colorful work on the walls for Blake’s “Visions in Bronze, Gypsum & Charcoal”.
“American history was so skewed that I thought there were people of color who made contributions to the fabric of the country who didn’t get visibility or credit for the roles they played in history. American,” Blake said. “In fact, they are keystones of American history.
“Could we imagine America today if we still had slavery or segregation?
Blake portrays his “heroes”, including Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King.
“I see them as people of character whose faces reveal their trials and tribulations.”
Artist Catherine Carney was thrilled with the show.
“A moving and very personal performance; filled with joyful revaluation and deep meaning! she says. “A true celebration of the Black experience!”
Artist Phil Hill was intrigued by the lives of the artists on the show.
“I see a lot of stories,” Hill said. “I am moved by what artists have to say about their work and their lives.
“The artists talk about their inner journey and how they arrived.”
Artists included Blake, Tilghman, Lamar Brickus, Chad Cortez Everett, Thomas Hamilton, Cardoza Jacks, Charles Jay and Terrill Johnson. Also, Van Buren Payne, Ben Richardson, Jose Sebourne, Andy Smith, Ronald Washington, Richard Watson, Samara Weaver and Gilberto Wilson.
The show runs until March 2, with a closing event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 3 that will include poetry readings, music, and other entertainment.
Admission is free to view the galleries, and a gift shop is stocked with goodies. The artistic association is open to the public Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Chester County Art Association is located at 100 N. Bradford Ave. The phone number is 610-696-5600. For more information, visit, www.chestercountyarts.org