“Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press,” at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360 in Boston from Jan. 17 to March 11, 2019, presents prints by 14 artists who aim to “capture the personal narratives and political discourses of African Americans across the country, reflecting a collective experience expressed in uniquely individual ways,” according to exhibition organizers.
Pam Paulson, co-founder of Paulson Fontaine Press in Berkeley, California, has said she decided to focus on working with African American artists “in 1997, after hearing the painter Kerry James Marshall give a talk about the dearth of Black voices and representation in major museums and art institutions.”
This exhibition—organized by the Bedford Gallery at Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California—features art by Marshall, Martin Puryear, Lonnie Holley and David Huffman, as well as Loretta Pettway, Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph and other Gee’s Bend Quilters, a group of women from a small, rural African American community in Alabama.
“Over its 22 years of operation in Berkeley, California, Paulson Fontaine Press has invited some 50 artists into its studio—many of whom had never before made prints,” exhibition organizers write. “The printmaking process is a collaborative one; artists are not working alone in their studios, but with a professional staff that can give them ideas about the effect their creative choices will have on the plate, and eventually, the print. For most artists, learning to work outside their own studio, in another space, and with different processes and materials can be exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding, and eye-opening.”
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