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Feb 5 – April 24 | Lehman College Art Gallery – The Gee’s Bend Tradition Exhbition

Exhibiting Artists:
Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph, Loretta Bennett,
Leola Pettway, Loretta Pettway, Qunnie Pettway, and Tinnie Pettway

February 5 – April 24, 2015 | Reception: Monday, March 16, from 6 – 8:00 pm

Lehman College Art Gallery – 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, N.Y

Gallery hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 10 am to 4 pm

Gee’s Bend is a rural, predominantly African American community southwest of Selma, Alabama, located on a peninsula created by dramatic bends in the Alabama River. This exhibition examines the ongoing aesthetic practice of artists rooted in the Gee’s Bend tradition. The quilters of Gee’s Bend are widely known for the commanding visual presence of their work. Their compositions vary widely from minimalist constructions to intricately pieced geometries – often with unpredictable sequences of patterns, bold colors, and a fearless resistance to rigid grids. For many, their inventive improvisations suggest jazz riffs and bring to mind the innovations of 20th century modernism. In 2005 four of the quilters – Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph, Loretta Bennett, and Loretta Pettway – began producing limited edition etchings with Paulson Bott Press in Berkeley, California. The collaboration offered the opportunity to explore the possibilities of translating their designs in a new medium. The Gee’s Bend Tradition includes fourteen contemporary quilts, as well as eight limited edition etchings, and fabric maquettes used in the process of producing the prints.

A related exhibition, Linda Day Clark: The Gee’s Bend Photographs, features the work of Linda Day Clark, who began photographing the Gee’s Bend community in 2002 when she worked in the area as a freelance photographer for The New York Times. A separate study installation includes photographs of Gee’s Bend from the 1930s taken by Arthur Rothstein and Marion Post Wolcott for the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division).

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