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January 14, 2015 Arts and Entertainment

Annual African American Art Exhibit, Ancient Rhythms Remixed

From: Morris Arts

Join Morris Arts and Art in the Atrium at the free public opening of New Jersey’s largest exhibition of African-American art, curated and assembled by Art in the Atrium.
 
The exhibit is entitled “Ancient Rhythms Remixed” and features the work of West Orange fine art quilter Bisa Butler, as well as works by more than 20 additional prominent black artists including Alonzo Adams, James Denmark, Janet Taylor Pickett, Maceo Mitchell, Leroy Campbell, Deborah Willis, Dwight Carter, Barbara Bullock and Norman Lewis, among others.
 
Influenced by her mother’s and grandmother’s love of fabric art, featured artist Butler switched from painting to fabric and developed new techniques and approaches to fine art quilt making. A formally trained artist, cum laude graduate of Howard University (BFA) with an MA in teaching from Montclair State, Butler studied the works of Roamer Bearden, Faith Ringgold and Henry O. Tanner and tapped into quilting traditions such as evoking memories by using fabrics belonging to loved ones, utilizing patterns to transmit news or messages (used during slavery) and creating innovative designs to produce painterly, modernist portraits of figures like Josephine Baker, Nelson Mandela, Marvin Gaye and Jean-Michael Basquiat.  In Butler’s hands, fabric communicates emotion, heritage, and beauty. Her art has been exhibited at both the Smithsonian and Epcott Center in Disney World.
 
“Bisa’s pieces appeal to many different audiences and because they are created from fabric, it gives the show added texture,’’ says Victoria Craig, director of administration for Art in the Atrium.
 
Art in the Atrium’s school arts program, which is tied to the show, will also take on an added dimension when Butler, a teacher in the Newark public school system, visits classrooms in advance of the show to help children appreciate the experience of seeing an art exhibition. In the past, artists spoke with children after their trip.
 
Art in the Atrium’s annual exhibition is the largest of its kind in the state. “It really helps to expand people’s idea of what African-American art can be,’’ says Craig. “We have works in all mediums and genres. It’s not just figurative paintings with a mask in them.’’
 
The public opening will include free refreshments (in the 4th floor cafeteria) as well as free parking (with direct access to building elevators) - in the garage below the building (enter on Schuyler Place, opposite public garage).

Date:  Running through March 15, 2015

Opening: January 23, 2015 from 6-9pm

Location: Atrium Gallery, floors 2-5 of the Morris County Administration & Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown, NJ.

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