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Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal

Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal (1955), oil on canvas [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Jan 28-Jun 18] © Estate of Avel de Knight

Constructing Identity: Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art

Portland Art Museum
Portland OR – Jan 28-June 18, 2017

Herman “Kofi” Bailey, Young Woman from Yoruba

Herman “Kofi” Bailey, Young Woman from Yoruba (1970–1975), charcoal, graphite, and chalk on paper [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Jan 28-Jun 18] © Herman Bailey

Donald E. Camp, Man Who Feels Shape (David Stephens)

Donald E. Camp, Man Who Feels Shape (David Stephens) (2006), photographic monoprint [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Jan 28-Jun 18] Courtesy the artist

Nelson Stevens, Spirit Sister

Nelson Stevens, Spirit Sister (2013), serigraph [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Jan 28-Jun 18] © Nelson Stevens

This comprehensive exhibition takes a deeper look into the artistic practices of Americans with varying African heritage and how race identity has been constructed within a Western, New World society. A large cross-section of both contemporary and historical artists is represented in this thoughtful exhibit, which features work by over 80 artists.

Pieces from the 1930s and ’40s by Harlem Renaissance artists like Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis and John T. Biggers, as well as artworks created during the Civil Rights era, offer insight into the African American experience and the power of artwork to transform perspectives. Well-known artists like Kara Walker, Sonya Clark and Radcliffe Bailey, as well as longtime Portland artist Arvie Smith and Washington artist Marita Dingus, all provide a vibrant contemporary dialogue informed by complex histories and personal memories.

The exhibition seeks to link independent imagery through larger thematic groupings among the artwork. Organizing them into the categories of Spirit, Gender, Abstraction, Community, Faces, and The Land broadens the context for each work while furthering the dynamic and collective nature of individual narratives.

Stylistically there is a wide range of work and media presented, from tender portraits and emotional figuration to expressive and vivid mixed-media drawings, from spirited sculptures to painted scenes of life and landscape. The provocative collection celebrates beauty, strength and perseverance while confronting poignant matters of racial stereotypes and oppression, stimulating an evolving perception and an emotional awareness into the constructed identities of African Americans.

portlandartmuseum.org

Allyn Cantor



























Richard Watson, Libation

Richard Watson, Libation (2005), oil on canvas [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Jan 28-Jun 18] © Richard Watson


 Tue, Apr 4, 2017