African American artist exhibit opening a huge success

This beautiful piece featured during the art gallery event held last weekend is part of the Rock Island Series One and it is by artist Mutope Johnson.

Over 100 people were in attendance during the five hours of the January 21 gala reception opening Friday, January 21 at the Peltz Gallery African American artist’s exhibit according to gallery owner Cissie Peltz “At one point, it was very difficult even getting to the kitchen to refill the vegetable tray due to the number of guests,” says Peltz of the 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. reception of “Vision, Voices, Viewpoints and Victories of African American Artists.”

She adds that this exhibit of 31 African American artists is “probably the largest attended showing that we have sponsored which is amazing given the nearly below zero temperature outside,” she adds.

Curated by nationally and internationally known local artist Della Wells, this prominently anticipated gallery night opening features a wide range of outstanding work of African American artists, 21 of which are from Wisconsin. Eminent local artists selected for this exhibition include Evelyn Patricia Terry, Reginald Baylor, Brad Bernard, Portia Cobb, George McCormick, Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Darlene LaMar and Wells to cite a few.

“Peltz Gallery had an extremely well received African American artist show in 2007. We thought it was time for a new show and we are so happy that Della was willing and able to be our guest curator,” says Peltz.

She adds that some of the artists from 2007 have been invited back with new works for this exhibit and that “Della has introduced us to many artists in Milwaukee and around the country to fill the gallery with colorful and exciting work.”

“I was good to see so many people come out for the opening of this exhibition,” says Wells. “Too often, there is a lack of awareness about African American artists and our work,” she adds.
The exhibit listing included artists who are locally, nationally and internationally known, 21 of which are from Wisconsin.

“Della Well is to be commended for the effort of putting together such a dynamic show with such a wide range of generational and artistic talent,” says area artist Brad Bernard.

“It is an honor to be included in this exhibit among such a wide selection of distinguished and well recognized artist that are locally, nationally and internationally known.”

A professor of art at Mount Mary College, Bernard presented canvasses from his latest series, “Blues Route”:

“The development of this body of work serves as a visual documentation of hill country, delta blues and gospel musicians that I have seen perform over the course of seven years while living in Mississippi,” notes Bernard.

The imagery of road maps and quilts are used in Bernard’s series to represent the travel of leaving and eventually returning home.

“Although many blues musicians have been known and performed internationally, they often choose to remain or reside close to their place of birth, never forgetting where they came from and always returning home from where they have been,” he shares.