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Artists Archives of the Western Reserve     
1834 E 123rd St, Cleveland, Ohio 44106    View Map

September 21, 2019 12 PM to 4 PM EDT

Opening Reception: Friday, September 20th, 6:00-8:30pm
Program: Collecting African American Art with Kerry Davis, October 12, 1-3pm

This September, the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve in partnership with The Sculpture Center, is proud to present seenUNseen, an exhibition which combines work from the Kerry and C. Betty Davis collection of African American Art and a curated response of Northeast Ohio artists.

The story of the Davis Collection begins in Atlanta, where Kerry worked as a postman and his wife as a television producer. Over 30 years, on a modest budget, they amassed a collection of over 300 paintings, works on paper and sculpture which includes some of the nation’s most significant emerging and established African American artists.

This vibrant body of work now covers every inch of the Davis’ suburban residence, transforming the space into an “in home museum” that provides community access to the important, and often “unseen”, legacy of American artists of color. Their collection includes artists such as Charles White, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Richard Hunt, Romare Bearden, Sedrick Huckaby, Richard Mayhew, Sam Gilliam, and Mildred Thompson. SeenUNseen will be the first-time work from the Davis collection has been shown outside of Atlanta.

The exhibition will also showcase 32 Ohio artists in conversation with the Davis Collection. Working closely with Kerry Davis, curators Ann Albano (The Sculpture Center) and (Artists Archives of the Western Reserve) selected pieces that “demonstrate the deep commitment to the artistic process and great talent of the African American artists of Northeast Ohio.” Tousley explains, that though the exhibition began “as showing bodies of work by a small group of artists” it transformed into “a large survey show of 67 regional works by 32 artists… which by coincidence is the same number of artists coming to us from the Davis collection.”

“Most of these artists,” Albano, describes, “are focused on themes of relevance to the black American experience such as storytelling and fantastical events, ancestral connections, family and community. There is a wonderful freedom in the use of less conventional materials for art making including glass and a profusion of textiles to create exuberant dolls and gorgeous clothing…”

SeenUNseen also features work which frankly addresses inequality and discrimination. “There are darker, angry, and very powerful depictions of the injustices still too prevalent in the lives and history of African Americans,” Albano notes. “The work of these artists of Northeast Ohio will hold its own with grace and impact in the company of the collection of Kerry and C. Betty Davis.”

Exhibiting Ohio artists include Regina Abernathy, , , ., , Malcolm Brown, , Shyvonne Coleman, , Dexter Davis, , , , Dale Goode, James L. Holloway, Mark Howard, , Myrya Johnson, , , Michelangelo Lovelace Sr., Julius M. Lyles, , , , , , , , Bob Walls, and .

The exhibition is proudly presented by the with help from the , and will be displayed in three galleries on the David E. Davis Arts Campus in University Circle. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 20th, 6:00-8:30pm that will feature a tribute to Cleveland artist Malcolm Brown.

The Davis family and many Northeast Ohio artists will also be in attendance and brief talks will take place midway through the reception. The show will continue until November 16.

Live Interview with Kerry Davis (In collaboration with The Soul of Philanthropy, presented by the Cleveland Foundation): Thursday, October 10th, Time/Location TBA

Artbites Program: Collecting African American Art with Kerry Davis, October 12, 1-3pm, Artists Archives of the Western Reserve. Please call 216.721.9020 to register!

Panel Discussion: The Sculpture Center will host a panel discussion including emerging, mid-career, and established regional African American artists on Saturday, November 2, 1-3pm

Reception, programs, and event are FREE and open to the public.

For more information, a preview of included work, and a complete list of exhibiting artists from the Davis Collection, please visit:

Featured Image: Yvonne Palkowitsh, Guided (Detail), Altered photograph, 20" x 20", 2018 part of seenUNseen

Category: , Arts, Sculpture

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