Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting Excited About Presenting Art History Makers in Oak Forest, IL

Detail of "Breaking Free," ©Toni Ruppert, Acrylic on Canvas
Sure, I’m geeked. So much has happened since I last posted and so this post is a bit longer.  Hang in here with me, OK?

First, let me tell you that the image you are seeing here is a detail of a painting I call “Breaking Free.” The full painting will be shown to attendees at my next show. If you are planning to be near Southland Chicago in February--plan to stop by and see the full piece. Yep, I’m enticing you. You’ve got to come to the show to see the full piece.

The details about the show are below.

About the Presentation
Chicago Southland artist Sylvia Westbrook and I thought it would be great to not only showcase our work, but also share the work of Boston based artist Lois Mailou Jones and Chicago based artist Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly.  We will be presenting our findings about them on Thursday, February 9th, 2012.  The night will include our work, a presentation about Ms. Jones and Ms. Pitchford-Jolly and will conclude with questions from the audience.

Research: Lois Mailou Jones
Sylvia Westbrook is a breath of fresh air when it comes to research.  Her goal was to find out about Ms. Jones and find compelling stories about her.  Ms. Jones, a textile designer, mask maker and painter worked in a number of mediums including watercolor, oil and acrylic. 

Ms. Jones believed that talent is the basis for a career, but hard work is what determines ones success.

Sylvia will present Ms. Jones' art and a bit of her history. One story that had us both laughing was when Ms. Jones broke art world color barriers in 1941. She won the Robert Woods Bliss Award for the “Indian Shops, Gay Head, Massachusetts” - a landscape painted in 1940.  This was awarded to her though the Corcoran Gallery which had a policy that forbid African Americans from participating.    Ms. Jones had a friend who was white submit the painting for her and so that she would not be rejected, she accepted the award via certified mail.

Much of Sylvia's research comes from resources such as The Life and Art of Lois Mailou Jones by Tritobia Hayes Benjamin.

Research: Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly

Ms. Megan Mall with the Acorn Public Library helped Sylvia and I both come up with resources.  I was thrilled to find information about Ms. Pitchford-Jolly, a sculptor.   

I found that Ms. Pitchford-Jolly, now retired, contributed to various art organizations in Chicago.  Her work is documented via the History page on Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly.

After hearing about her story pots, spirit women and friendship pots from Sylvia, I had the idea that maybe I’d meet her at some point. 

Good news! Sylvia assisted in orchestrating a phone interview with Ms. Pitchford-Jolly.  I was a bit nervous, but really thrilled to actually talk with her.

One of the things she helped me see was the idea of honesty in art.  She said, "Going with what is popular is a dead-end street.” She went on to say that even though an artist might not "want to be ridiculed", one “can’t help it.”  One must be “honest about doing what’s not popular.” 

I have taken pages of notes from our conversation which I will first share with attendees of our reception tomorrow.

Details of Our Show:

Meet the Artists
Thursday, February 9, 2012

Acorn Public Library (large meeting room)
15624 Central Avenue
Oak Forest, IL 60452 / 708-687-3700

The actual exhibit dates are : 

February 1 - February 28, 2012

All attendees need to register in person or by phone at:

Acorn Public Library - 708-687-3700.  

Think of your biggest obstacle right now in your own field. What would you do if you could have an established person in your field speak to your circumstances?  What would you hope they’d say? You can leave a comment below.


Vanessa said...

Good luck in your next show Toni! I can't wait until you post the full painting of "Break Free"! Let us know how it goes :)

Toni Ruppert said...

Thank you for the well wishes, Vanessa. I will let you know how it goes and will post "Breaking Free." I would not dare hold it back! : )