While Mother Nature is busy painting crisp fall landscapes in the north Georgia mountains this month, art curators in Atlanta are readying exhibit spaces for seasonal landscapes of their own. Mixed media collage, photography, impressionist works and pieces that challenge politics will grace the city’s museums this autumn.
“Something Over Something Else” at The High
In 1977, the late artist Romare Bearden described his creative process to the New Yorker as “putting something over something else.” Bearden was so inspired by the profile piece written about him under that title that it spurred him to create his “Profile” series, which, for the first time in nearly 40 years, will be fully together again this fall at The High Museum.
“The idea really came out of a major acquisition we made in 2014 of a work by Bearden called ‘Artist with Painting & Model,’” said Stephanie Heydt, Margaret and Terry Stent curator of American art at The High. “It’s one of his only known self-portraits.”
After learning it was part of a series, she became curious as to what the series looked like as a whole. Thus began the process of reuniting Bearden’s autobiographical works. All but about 12 will be in the exhibit, Heydt said.
The series was first displayed in 1978 and again in 1981 by the gallery that represented Bearden. It includes two parts, one that chronicles Bearden’s early life in the 1910s and ’20s, and one that follows his later life in Harlem, New York. According to a news release from The High, Bearden presented “Profile” as “a shared history — his reflection on a life path that follows the journey of migration and transition in black communities across the mid-20th century.” Bearden was a black man, but was so light-skinned compared to others in his family that it led to challenges during his childhood in North Carolina, Heydt said. Though many works seemed to be about his life, “Profile” is the only one that drew from his personal memories.
His work can be described as mixed media collage.
“Some of the paper that he used, he actually hand-painted or he modulated in some way. Some works have wallpaper and fabric; some are watercolors with scraps and cut-out pieces that he layered in,” Heydt said.
These collages are paired with captions Bearden co-wrote with an author friend, and The High exhibit will also feature film of the artist talking about the series.
“No one since the ’70s has seen the works pulled together in this particular way,” Heydt said. “It feels like Bearden’s walking with you through the exhibit.”
On display beginning Sept. 14
Myra Greene’s “INTERVAL”at MOCA
Atlanta-based artist Myra Greene, an associate professor of photography at Spelman College, is the featured Working Artist Project this season at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. “INTERVAL” is a combination of two of Greene’s bodies of work in textiles — “Piecework” and “Mixed” — which “explore our relationship to, and interpretation of, color, race and identity,” according to the exhibit’s webpage. Both look at how the color brown can be produced when dyeing fabric, and utilize different techniques to “transform fabric into this rich tone which is reminiscent of the artist’s skin.”
To create “Piecework,” Greene first dyed fabrics their complementary colors, creating a smooth transition from that color to brown. She then silk-screened original patterns, inspired by traditional Dutch Wax patterns on African textiles, onto the dyed fabrics using metallic inks. The pieces of fabric cut into triangles and sewn together in new and abstract ways.
“Mixed” is one of Greene’s more recent textile series. Each piece is “a composition of hand-dyed strips of fabric that fade from rich tones of red, green and blue to brown … highlight[ing] the seductive nature of color and address that brown is not a pure color, but merely a tone, a composite and a beautiful hybrid of information,” the exhibit website states.
On display beginning Sept. 11
Other Shows of Note
“The Atlanta Years, 1986 – 2003,” Art of Mildred Thompson
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta
Beginning September 11
“A Route Campagne: Impressionist Works from the Melamed Family”
Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta
Beginning September 13
“Lonesome Dove: Photographs by Bill Wittliff”
Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville
Starting September 19
“The Perpetual Stranger:” Art from Tori Tinsley and Ally White
Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta
Beginning September 21
72nd Annual Members’ Exhibition
Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Gainesville
Beginning October 10
“Delta Hill Riders: Photographs by Rory Doyle”
Hudgens Center for Art & Learning, Duluth
Starting October 12
“Fashioning Art from Paper”: Isabelle de Borchgrave exhibition
Beginning October 22