The first exhibitions of the fall semester at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center’s Mesaros Galleries are works by nationally recognized African-American artists Nyame Brown, a painter and printmaker from South Bend, Ind., and Thaddeus Mosley, a sculptor from Pittsburgh. Both exhibitions will be open through Oct. 6.
Both exhibitions open Sept. 1.
Brown’s exhibition, titled “The John Henry Works,” will be on view in the Laura Mesaros Gallery and is curated by Robert Bridges.
Brown is inspired by African hairstyles and sculpture and creates images that explore the unconscious intertwining of African-American pop culture and the larger African Diaspora.
“The John Henry series by Nyame Brown was influenced by remembrances of his father’s bedtime stories,” Bridges said. “Through the series, the figure of John Henry has evolved in the work, and Brown has updated the figure with aspects of contemporary African American society, comic books and science fiction, bringing the hero that beat the machine into the 21st Century.”
Brown holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from Yale University, and taught at the University of Notre Dame, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and Illinois State University. In 2003 he was one of only 10 young contemporary artists nationwide to receive the prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant Award that celebrates painting and sculpture as significant cultural necessities in America.
He also received the Richard Driehaus Foundation Individual Award in 2002, given annually to three Chicago-based visual artists. His works have been exhibited at various locations in New York, including Gallery M, Bill Maynes Gallery, Studio Museum of Harlem; and in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest, including Hyde Park Art Center, Gallery 2, Peter Miller Gallery and The Butcher Shop Gallery.
For more information, see http://www.nyamebrown.com.
Thaddeus Mosley’s sculpture will be on view in the Paul Mesaros Gallery at the Creative Arts Center, and he will present a visiting artist lecture about his work Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. in the Bloch Learning and Performance Hall (200A). A reception for both exhibitions will follow at the galleries.
“Mosley is one of Pittsburgh’s top artists and has been for quite a few years,” Bridges said. “His carefully constructed abstract wood sculptures show influences of masters Brancusi and Noguchi, as well as the inspiration he feels from Jazz music. The sculptures all exhibit a balance between the geometric, organic forms and traditional utilitarian work.”
Mosley’s most recognized sculptures include the 14-foot cedar “Phoenix” at the corner of Centre Avenue and Dinwiddie in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and the “Mountaintop” limestone at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, also in the Hill District, at Herron and Milwaukee Streets.
A native of New Castle, Pa., Mosley is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in English and journalism. While writing for The Pittsburgh Courier in the 1950s he became interested in carving and sculpture. His works have been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Mattress Factory, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and the Cue Art Foundation Gallery in New York City, among other venues.
His commissions include “Three Rivers Bench” for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and “Legends” at the Susquehanna Museum in Harrisburg, Pa.
His awards include the 1999 Governor’s Award for Artist of the Year in Pennsylvania Visual Arts, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts 2000 Cultural Award and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts 2002 Service to the Arts Award and Exhibition. The later award is given to a member of the local arts community for demonstrating inspiration, involvement, commitment and passion for the arts.
Mosley has given numerous workshops on woodcarving at colleges and art centers locally and regionally. He has taught wood sculpture every summer for more than 20 years at the Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, Pa.
To see an interview with Thaddeus Mosley, visit http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmag/bk_issue/1997/mayjun/feat3.htm.
Managed and programmed by Curator Robert Bridges and the WVU Division of Art and Design, the Mesaros Galleries organize a diverse and exciting schedule of exhibitions throughout the year. The galleries are committed to showing experimental work that is innovative both in terms of media and content. The Mesaros Galleries and the WVU Division of Art and Design also host contemporary artists of important or growing reputation who work in all media in the Visiting Artist Program.
All Mesaros Galleries events, including art lectures, exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.
Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from noon to 9:30 p.m. The galleries are closed Sundays and University holidays. Special individual or group viewing times may be arranged upon request.
For more information, contact Robert Bridges, curator, at (304) 293-2312.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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