Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MLK Day in Charlotte, North Carolina

Gantt Center
Normally, I only cover things related to Fantasy or other types of Speculative Fiction on my blog, but in honor of Martin Luther King Day yesterday and because the art was amazing, I've decided to cover the visit of my husband and me to Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art and Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina.

We were on our way home from Marscon (which I'll tell you more about on Thursday), and we stopped in Charlotte on Sunday night. For those of you who don't know my husband, he loves art museums, so he wanted to go to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art on Monday morning. We were both far less than impressive. The museum is quite small, and the art work didn't really do anything for either of us. We pretty much breezed through it, so we had more time available before we had to head home. We learned about the Gantt museum across the street, which was having a special event for MLK day.

This museum was speculator in comparison to the Bechtler. We loved everything we saw, but the most impressive was the work of Nellie Ashford. In her paintings, Ashford uses actual fabric rather than paint for the clothing of her subjects. She also adds rope and other material. The effect is stunning, as you can see below. I loved every one of her pieces.

It's hard to tell for the photo, but all the clothing is made of fabric.

The jump rope here is twine. Notice how it leaps from the painting.

The may pole ribbons are made out of thread.

As a special treat, the artist was present at the exhibit, and we were able to get our picture taken with her.

Me, my husband Tim, and artist Nellie Ashford
She was an extremely sweet woman, and she gave me a hug after I told her how much I liked her artwork and the effect of making the figures' clothing out of actual fabric. She is in her 80s, and we learned from the gift shop attendant that she only started painting in her 70s. Wow! What could she have accomplished if she had started younger. Sadly, there were no books or even magnets of her art work (we collect magnets of all the places we visit; our refrigerator is covered with them). The shop did have some of her actual paintings on sale for quite a reasonable price for original art ($600-1000), but still more than I can afford.

In additional to Ashford's work, there was an exhibit of quilts and one of wood working. While neither of these impressed me quite as much as Ashford, they were very good. Going through the quilt exhibit reminded me of my grandmother Ottosen, who I miss so much. There was rarely a time we visited her that she did not have a quilt in progress in her living room. While my grandmother's quilts weren't as speculator as those in the museum, they were very beautiful. These were some of my favorite quilts by the artist Adrienne Cruz.

I'm afraid my picture doesn't do justice to this amazing quilt combining images of Africa.

It's green. My son would be so unsurprised that I liked this quilt so much. If you didn't know, green is my favorite color. Green is warmth and life and growth. Green makes me happy, as did this quilt.

In addition to the quilts, there was this amazing dress.

The wood work was also beautiful, but it isn't as much my thing.

I'd love to hear what you think of the art, and if you live anywhere close to Charlotte, I urge you to check this museum out. 

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