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Gantt Center has local flavor in 'Painting Is Its Own Country'
CMS teacher Brian Wilson included in exhibit
 
Published Saturday, November 16, 2019 7:27 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
Bryan Wilson’s “Naturally Speaking #1” in the Gantt Center exhibit “Painting Is Its Own Country” through April 12.

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center’s signature exhibit went local.


“Painting Is Its Own Country” does include national artists, such as William Villalongo, Didier William, Jackie Milad, Stacy Lynn Waddell and Rushern Baker IV, but it also highlights Northwest School of the Arts instructor Bryan Wilson. His work “Naturally Speaking #1” is among the 26 pieces from emerging and established artists, curated by Dexter Wimberly, who also curated “The Future is Abstract” at the Gantt in 2017. The show is on view through April 12.  

“I sent over some work, and that was the piece Dexter chose,” Wilson said. “It was really humbling, because I follow most of those artists. People like Mario Moore and Derrick Adams—these are international names being represented. It was very humbling to be a part of that. As a whole, the exhibit is a really nice cross section of the different painting practices. It does a good job of showcasing contemporary paintings as a culture, because people have their notion of what they think painting is or should be. The exhibit, even in those 26 pieces, everyone is very different. Even our portraits—they are so, so different. There is so much commentary happening from piece to piece, whether it was more abstract or more representational. There is a nice offering of different painting disciplines.”


Wilson’s goal with the 60-inch-by-60-inch oil on canvas is to highlight the beauty of the everyday black woman. It is a portrait of local creative Davita Galloway. He focuses on a black woman’s natural hair as symbol of qualities possessed by these women, as it pertains to her daily routine and self-image.


“I was really happy, because that brings it back full-circle to the community,” Wilson said. “It’s just awesome for somebody from the community to see themselves represented in the museum, and particularly in the African American community, because there’s still a lack of adequate representation. That’s where the importance of the Gantt comes in, and that’s where the importance of seeing local artists represented comes in.”


Said Galloway: “I had no idea that I was selected. I was just blown away by all the work present.”
Wilson described his piece as “unconventional” due to its size.


“The scale is something that is different, and that was part of the challenge back when I was proposing to do this body of work,” Wilson said. “‘How much impact would this have when it is shown in the gallery space for not just the African American community, but others outside of our culture?’ To a degree that’s a confrontational type of experience. Not in a bad way, but it’s an arresting type of experience. I have to stand back and really take this in, because it’s a huge presence, and that’s what I believe Davita’s portrait represents, even in that space.”

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Posted on November 19, 2019
 

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