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ELIZABETH CATLETT (1915-2012)
Renowned printmaker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett was born on April 15, 1915, in Washington, D.C. She attended Howard University School of Art, graduating cum laude in 1936. She later became the first student to earn an MFA degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa in 1940; and also studied printmaking at the Art Students League in New York City. She later taught at Dillard University in New Orleans.
She left New Orleans to study with the Russian-born sculptor Ossip Zadkine in New York. Mr. Zadkine, who spent his formative years in Montparnasse alongside Modigliani and Brancusi, nudged her work in a more abstract direction. During this time, the early 1940s, Ms. Catlett also worked in adult education at the George Washington Carver School in Harlem, a program that nurtured the photographer Roy DeCarava, among others.
Her works are widely recognized for her celebration of the African American woman; a theme that would continue throughout her career. In 1946, Catlett traveled to Mexico to work with arts collective, Mexico City’s Taller de Grafica Popular.
In 1947, Ms. Catlett was honored with a fellowship granted by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation, Catlett created a body of works entitled “I Am a Negro Woman;” a series of sculptures, prints, and paintings which toured southern black women’s colleges.
She married Mexican painter Francisco Mora. From 1958 through 1976, she directed the sculpture department at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
In 1993, Catlett received her first New York City exhibition since 1971 and in 1998 the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York honored her with a fifty year retrospective. Her paintings and sculptures are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
JOHN TERRELL SCOTT (1940-2007)
John T. Scott was an artist known for his creation of powerful, painted, vividly colored, steel sculptures.
His works are abstract, melding subtle references to the Caribbean and traditional African tribal arts with contemporary techniques and styles. Scott’s sculptures often include kinetic elements and are especially effective on a large scale; he has received several public commissions in recent years. He was one of the first African-American artists to exhibit in commercial galleries in New Orleans.
Scott was a professor of fine arts at Xavier University of Louisiana. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions at such galleries and institutions as the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the National Museum of American Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Kansas City Jazz Museum, the Sculpture Center in New York City, the Boston Center for the Arts, and the Tubman African American Museum in Macon, Georgia. The New Orleans Museum of Art hosted an exhibition covering forty years of Scott’s work entitled Circle Dance: A John T. Scott Retrospective (2005), including his other works in silkscreen, etching, and woodcuts.
Scott received a B.A. (1962) from Xavier University of Louisiana and an M.F.A. (1965) from Michigan State University.
Monceaux finds inspiration from a fascination with the narratives of visionary artists, leaders and cultural icons. His passion for creative expression takes structure in the form of character series devoted to cultural, social and political luminaries; meticulously researched and explored.
Monceaux rose to fame after creating his first series -GEORGE TO GEORGE - all the U.S. presidents, from Washington to (then) Bush. The series was featured in the 1992 New Yorker magazine article “Hail to the Chiefs”, where writer Adam Gopnik describes the series as ‘a unique meditation on history’.
A true visionary artist, Monceaux is perhaps best known for his portrait depictions of political and cultural figures. His portraits of Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, and B.B. King are included in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Books to his credit include Jazz—My People, My Music; Shall We Dance, and My Heroes, My People: African Americans and Native Americans in the West.
Renowned for his bold contrast and intense hues, James Phillips articulates a narrative of African tradition and visual code through complex and highly stylized expression. His two-dimensional works are vibrant and dynamic; and like densely patterned quilts, they weave together the old and the new. His work has been exhibited and collected internationally, with inclusion in prestigious collections such as The National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian, Hampton University Museum Collection, The David C. Driskell Center Collection, and The Art in Embassies Program of the United Sates Department of State Collection.
Prelude to a Kiss, acrylic on bark cloth The Other John #3, paper collage
Since the late 1970's, Wellman's prints, drawings and paintings have been regularly exhibited and have received critical review in art publications nationally and internationally. In 1999 she was featured in a traveling exhibition "Chance and Necessity: Abstract Painting in the Washington Area" . Chance and Necessity traveled around the region and in Ohio.
In 2003 Joyce was invited to Kenya to participate in the First East African Women Artists Residency and Exhibition, and to teach a master printmaking class to a group of young artists at the Kuona Trust Studios in Nairobi, Kenya; all sponsored by the Unites States Embassy, Kenya, and the Kuona Trust of Nairobi. She has also enjoyed residence in Italy, Blue Mountain Center, and the Experimental Printmaking Workshop in Easton, Pennsylvania.
An exhibiting artist for more than 25 years, the art of Joyce Wellman work has been widely collected. Her work is included in many notable collections. A few are listed below:
Permanent Collection - United States Embassy Monrovia, Liberia , West Africa
Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia
United States Library of Congress Division of Photography and Prints, Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C. Convention Center Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
Print Collection of the New York Public Library, Manhattan 5th Ave. Branch, NY