Romare Bearden and Dox Thrash, African-American artists who were part of the Great Migration, are the subjects of solo exhibitions opening Saturday at the High Museum of Art.
- “A Painter’s Profile: The High Celebrates Romare Bearden” centers on a recent major High Museum acquisition, “Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist With Painting and Model” (1981), Bearden’s only known self-portrait.
This large (44-by-56-inch) late-career collage is a retrospective work in which Bearden (1911-1988), a native of Charlotte, N.C., who moved with his family to Harlem as a young child, brings together important memories and spiritual influences from his youth with broader art historical themes that guided his career.
Bearden depicts himself in his studio holding a brush with his arm draped over a painting. This “painting within the painting” is a rendition of “The Visitation” (1941), a tempura on paper that Bearden considered to be among his key works.
The exhibit explores the self-portrait’s layered references — from the Italian Renaissance to Matisse, African art to jazz, from Bearden’s reminiscences of his Southern roots to the expression of his spirituality and experiences as a black man in America.
Continuing through May 31, the exhibit will include the eight other Bearden works in the High’s collection, including collage, watercolors and various kinds of prints.
- “Dox Thrash: An American Journey” is comprised of 43 works on paper by the Georgia native (1893-1965), who left home at age 15 in search of a better life, eventually arriving in Chicago in 1911 when he was 18.
Though he is not nearly as well known as Bearden, Thrash has been the subject of increased attention from museums and collectors since the Philadelphia Museum of Art gave him his first major retrospective in 2001-02, subtitling it “An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered.”
The High show includes watercolors, relief prints, lithographs, etchings and carborundum mezzotints — the latter printmaking technique a Thrash discovery.
Showing through May 10, the touring exhibit at the High highlights the museum’s recent acquisition of a carborundum print by Thrash, “Georgia Cotton Crop” (1944-45).
Thrash, who interrupted studies at the Art Institute of Chicago to fight in the front lines in France during World War I, worked a variety of jobs before and while establishing himself as an artist, from vaudeville performer to house painter. It all became fodder for his artmaking, through which he also depicted the relocation of blacks from the rural South to urban centers in the North and elsewhere. While many of the scenes he depicted were personal recollections, they form a broad view of the larger cultural and political environment facing African-Americans at the dawn of the civil rights era.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (until 9 p.m. Fridays), noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $19.50; $16.50 ages 65 and older and students (ID required); $12 ages 6-17. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-4444, www.high.org.
Barksdale is an Atlanta artist inspired by jazz and African-American culture whose musician murals play across the facade of the Decatur CD store in downtown Decatur. Dominican Republic-born Berroa paints mostly women and children — because, he has written, they are “considered in society as ‘weakest.’ They are actually the most tender and beautiful.”
Bainbridge-born Partee has won 16 stamp/print competitions and created more than 20 prints of the year for national conservation organizations in a career spanning four decades.
Through March 29. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Sundays. $8; students (ages 6-18 or with ID) and ages 65 and up, $5. The museum has been closed for exhibition preparations; it will reopen at 6 p.m. Saturday. 30 Atlanta St., Marietta. 770-528-1444, www.mariettacobbartmuseum.org.
Animals with immediacy
When Vancouver artist Andre Petterson went on a recent safari in Namibia, he was after big game for art purposes.
Eight of Petterson’s photo-based mixed media paintings are newly on view in the exhibit “Big Game” at Pryor Fine Art in Buckhead’s Miami Circle design district.
Influenced by the use of light by Rembrandt and other Dutch Golden Age artists, the Holland-born painter tries to “capture the essence of a split-second in time,” according to the gallery.
“I am and have always been fascinated by gesture, immediate image photography, light play on objects,” Petterson has said.
Through January. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. 764 Miami Circle, Suite 132, Atlanta. 404-352-8775, www.pryorfineart.com.