Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Turning the Natural World on its Side

The notion of a path through life—either taken or not taken—is one of the most powerful recurring themes in art, and one that seems particularly relevant in a new exhibit at Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Gallery of paintings by Richard Mayhew, whose colorful, inventive, imaginary landscapes have defied the art world’s classifications for generations.

“Transcendental Landscapes” is a vivid series of oil and watercolor pastoral scenes, many with winding roads beckoning the viewer further into the depths of the paintings’ dreamscape, The scenes are drawn from the imagination of an artist whose career has spanned an early life as a jazz singer and medical illustrator, involvement in a seminal group of artists who helped define African-American art during the Civil Rights era and six cross-country trips from New York to California to document the changing American landscape.

Mr. Mayhew, who is of both Native American and African-American descent, will give a lecture on his work at a kickoff celebration of Black History Month at the college on the evening of Saturday, January 31.

Read the Rest of the Story Here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Long Way Traveled

Where the pavement ends on Mount Olive Road, there stands a remnant of a bygone era. Peeking out from numerous too-close sapling trees and a few stray vines, the remains of the Long Ridge School are not that different from numerous other simple, boxy schoolhouses that once dotted the hills of Appalachia.
But Long Ridge School is not like many other community-built one- and two-room school houses throughout the region. Long Ridge School was one of nearly 5,000 schools for African-American children throughout the rural South built by the Rosenwald Initiative, a program funded by Julius Rosenwald, the one-time president of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
The school is now a dilapidated shell, but its former self is recalled in a painting by Mars Hill artist and former Long Ridge student Charity Ray.
“Oh, I can't even count how many of us there were that went to school there,” said Ray, now 72. “See, we had students that came up from Hot Springs and Marshall, too.”
Many of the younger voters of all races who helped to elect America's first African-American president, Barack Obama, may find it difficult to fathom how far America has come in a relatively short time until they view see the story of segregation through the eyes of someone like Ray, who's still a part of their community.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forgive Me

Forgive me. Since I last posted I lost my Step-Dad in a car wreck and attended the Inauguration. I'm back on track now and expect to begin posting regularly this weekend.