Historical art show is a 2015 must see

james van der zee phoebus chrysler10bw

“Phoebus, Virginia, School Class” (1907) by James Van Der Zee , gelatin silver print.


Opening to the public on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia, “Looking Both Ways” will explore the works of contemporary African-American artists and the cultural influences that shape their art.


      The exhibit will map the historical path of African American art, beginning with the influence of Africa and continuing to include historical photographs of turn-of-the-century Tidewater by James Van Der Zee, a Harlem Renaissance photographer who captured African American life. It will also challenge, provoke, question and play with issues presented in works by other internationally acclaimed African American artists, including Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Faith Ringgold, Robert Colescott and Beverly Buchanan.

     The artworks grapple with the legacies of slavery, the Jim Crow era and the struggles of the Civil Rights era, exposing the scars that remain in modern America. These contemporary artworks will be juxtaposed with African objects and historical photographs providing context for the artists’ points of view. Visitors will see archival photos from the Daily Press documenting the Civil Rights era on the Virginia Peninsula, from sit-ins at downtown Newport News department stores to neighborhood protests against desegregation of schools.


“Singing and Mending”, (1946), serigraph print, by Robert Gwathmey.

“Singing and Mending”, (1946), serigraph print, by Robert Gwathmey.


     Two works by Williamsburg native Betty Blayton-Taylor, who graduated high school in segregated Virginia goes on view. Because there were no black colleges in Virginia, offering an accredited arts program, the state paid for Betty to attend Syracuse University. She graduated with a degree in art in 1959 and was a co-founder of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Harlem Children’s Art Carnival and Harlem Textile Works. She will talk about her career as an artist in a dialogue with Hampton artist Crystal Johnson at 2:00 pm on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at the Center.


“Norfolk 17”, mixed media, Changing Standards: Clayton Singleton.

“Norfolk 17”, mixed media, Changing Standards: Clayton Singleton.


     In addition, the PFAC’s Halsey Gallery will be devoted to the work of Norfolk artist Clayton Singleton, whose pieces celebrate intellectually exceptional African American students, creating blended narratives through mixed media. Works exhibited include two portraying the desegregation of schools in Norfolk, with painted renderings of historic photographs of the Norfolk 17 paired with Adinkra symbols, West African symbols that add another layer of meaning to each piece.

     For more information, see: www.pfac-va.org or call 757.596.8175.


**AAPJ Editor’s USA pick


Published by on December 2014. Filed under At the Centers dept, News (Time related), Palette News Arts Network/PNAN, PaletteBoards Section, Virginia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed