EXHIBITION ON VIEW
African American Art: Vision and Spirit
Works from the Bank of America Collection
African American Art: Vision and Spirit is an exhibition composed of more than ninety paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media works by 36 artists. The exhibition draws its inspiration from the different artists’ visions and their use of technique to convey compelling stories. Body politics, race, class and gender are a few of the topics that surface in these works of art, which depict moments from the extraordinary to the mundane.
In selecting works for this exhibition, Guest curator Deborah Willis looked for images that captured her imagination. Her central focus was on how artists define and explore the concepts of beauty and abstraction. Willis has organized Vision and Spirit into three thematic sections: Reflections and Likeness, Constructing Place and Rituals of Existence. They are designed to foster critical thinking, provide social context and engage discussion. Willis challenges the viewer to investigate the role that art plays in society and how art affects our interpretation of what we see. Vision and Spirit encourages the viewer to think of ways in which art and storytelling illustrate experiences.
Some of the artists in this exhibition base their work on stories about family life, while others reflect on ideas about music and love. Others use the formal aspects of line, color and shape in their explorations. Still others document experiences that transformed the twentieth century and inspired the next generation; indeed, Willis highlights the influence of televised images of civil rights demonstrations, sit-ins, school integration and funerals in the mid-1960s, events that helped shape her understanding of the world.