On View: ‘David Driskell: Resonance, Paintings 1965-2002’ at DC Moore Gallery, New York
On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
DC MOORE GALLERY is presenting a nearly four-decade survey of David Driskell, the renowned artist, curator, art historian, and educator. The paintings, large and small, reflect the expanse of his interests, travels, and experiences. Driskell, 87, draws on a range of styles and techniques, from figuration and abstract expressionism to collage, mark making, and graphic symbolism. While he has often shifted the focus of his work, dynamic color is a constant.
In the 1960s and 70s, some works made sociopolitical statements invoking the fight for civil rights, the challenges of the Vietnam War, and the pride of the Black Arts Movement. As the 80s approached, Driskell introduced collage elements, referenced landscapes and cityscapes, and considered the expressive and spiritual characteristics of abstraction. Beyond the 80s through more recent years, he has continued to explore collage and abstraction, relating the work to place, memory, nature, spirituality, and jazz.
Driskell established the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. He splits his time between Hyattsville, Md., and Falmouth, Maine. CT
“The years between the March on Washington in 1963 and the end of the Vietnam War in 1973, galvanized by the Civil Rights Movement and often called the ‘turbulent decade,’ represent a lived experience for Driskell. Many of Driskell’s works of the late 1960s through the 1970s clearly reflect the era of the Black Arts Movement and the Afrocentric impulses it advanced.”
— DC Moore Gallery
“David Driskell: Resonance, Paintings 1965-2002” is on view at DC Moore Gallery, April 11-June 8, 2019
FIND MORE about the exhibition
David Driskell on “Ghetto Wall #2 (1970): “The whole aspect of what I was doing to reflect the social climate is part and partial what I am trying to do here. Of course, you go back to the history of painting, I am obviously influenced by what is going on or has happened in abstract expressionism—the brush strokes, the colors, but also the symbolism that you see and the use of the flag and the star, the lone figure, which of course says something. The social scene, the almost photographic rendering of bricks. Aspects of the city walled in. Trying to show certain elements of our own encounter in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as what was going on in America in general. I am trying to reflect on all of this, while at the same time looking at social history— the use of the flag, the use of the “x” symbol. Malcolm X and his influence which was still there. The influence of Dr. Martin Luther King, all of those things culminating in what might be referred to as the black experience in that period.”
WATCH Driskell discuss “Ghetto Wall #2”
David Driskell on “Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox)” (1974): “Another prevailing theme that presents itself in my work in the 1970s is the subject of women, in this case African American women. The bifurcated face, the separated aspect of what the feminine mystique is all about. The beauty that comes with adornment of the figure. I am still under the influence of my travels in Africa in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when I am looking at all of the elements of entertainment. Women in entertainment. The women who sing and present themselves on the stage. You’ll notice that I have used in the collage fashion aspects of the city and Lincoln Center in the background. She presents herself as an extraordinary person, somebody who has understood all of the stages of womanhood and now she is onstage. She is presenting herself to us in a certain manner. She is highly adorned and dressed with all of the accoutrements of society, but she is also, perhaps, the lone singer who traces her lineage all the way to the Harlem Renaissance, through the era of Billie Holiday, and to contemporary times.”
WATCH Driskell discuss “Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox)”
TOP IMAGE: Installation view of “David Driskell: Resonance, Paintings 1965-2002,” DC Moore Gallery, April 11-June 8, 2019. | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine
Beautifully illustrated, “David C. Driskell: Artist and Scholar,” explores the life and work of David Driskell. “Two Centuries of Black American Art” documents the groundbreaking traveling exhibition Driskell organized in 1976 with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In addition, he has published The David Driskell Series of African American Art. The invaluable series written by multiple authors considers the work of individual African American artists.
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