Art Notes: Friendship leads to acclaimed artist's show
Share with others:
After years of dues-paying, artist Beverly McIver cleared a high rung on the success ladder when she was given her first solo gallery show in New York City in 2003.
And then, a year later, a promise came due.
Ms. McIver had grown a national reputation through autobiographical expressionistic paintings that address issues of race, gender and class. This cultural activism through art inspired new directions for women artists of color, and her work was covered in important art publications such as Art in America, Art News and The New York Times.
A dozen of her absorbing paintings comprise "Beverly McIver: Intersecting Identities" at the Westmoreland County Community College Art Gallery, Youngwood, where she spoke last week.
That such a prominent figure is exhibiting in southwestern Pennsylvania is due to a friendship that developed between Ms. McIver and Kathleen Dlugos, artist, critic and WCCC associate professor of art, when they were graduate students at Penn State..
A similar friendship that began while she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study resulted in a full-length documentary centered on that promise, "Raising Renee," which premiered on HBO last week. Jeanne Jordan was in residence in the neighboring studio, and she and her husband Steven Ascher, both Emmy-winning filmmakers, became interested in Ms. McIver's story.
When they met, Ms. McIver was a rising art star who had grown up in a housing project in Greensboro, N.C. Her mother, Ethel, worked as a maid to support her three daughters, the eldest of whom, Renee, was mentally disabled and lived at home. Ms. McIver promised that she would take care of Renee when her mother no longer could, a distant concept that became cold reality when her mother died of cancer.
Ms. McIver was tenured faculty at Arizona State University at the time, and she moved her sister west. The artist admits to having consternation as she realized the implications of taking responsibility for her sister, and the experience has added the issue of caregiving to her social critique.
In 2007, Ms. McIver accepted a position at North Carolina Central University, Durham, a historically black school from which she had earned a bachelor's degree in painting and drawing, and she and Renee settled into a home purchased there. Two years later, Renee moved to a housing complex for the disabled and elderly in Greensboro, near a school where sister Roni is assistant principal. Family members pitch in and Renee enjoys her independence, making crafts, and the companionship of her cat.
And Beverly pursues her career, teaching, speaking and making paintings that gain power from the interrelationship of self and the world, family and the self.
The exhibition continues through Thursdayin Science Hall, WCCC Youngwood Campus. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More at http://beverlymciver.com and www.raising-renee.com (to see a trailer or purchase DVD).
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel will give a free public lecture at 6 p.m, today in Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland. Mr. van Berkel is co-founder and principal architect of UNStudio, a Dutch architectural design studio; professor of conceptual design at the Stadelschule, Frankfurt, Germany; and currently holds the Kenzo Tange Chair at Harvard Graduate School of Design. The lecture is co-sponsored by Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture and The Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art (412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org).
Christian icons --their art and symbolism -- is the topic of an open house and free public programs from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 3400 Dawson St. (at the Boulevard of the Allies), Oakland. The Rev. Bogdan Bucur, a theology professor at Duquesne University, will speak at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday. He will also give a short homily at the 4 p.m. Sunday service. Iconographer Randi Sider-Rose will give a demonstration at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Edith Humphrey, professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday.
All curators to a lesser or greater degree include artists in their exhibitions who they feel are deserving of attention. But generally the selection also has to do with subject, period, media or some similar concern that the show explores. For "2 X 20: Twenty Regional Artists Everyone Should Know," an exhibition held earlier this month at the Saint Vincent Gallery, Brother Nathan Cochran chose artists who he feels are "masters of technique, have a unique vision, and are worthy of being better known and celebrated."
They work in a range of media including painting, sculpture and printmaking; of expression including realism, abstraction and Pop; are young and mature; male and female; and more or lesser known. The quality they all share is that they are deserving of Brother Nathan's affirmation, and of a look when they appear in future exhibitions.
The artists are Eric Armusik, Zachary Brown, Neilson Carlin, Elizabeth Myers Castonguay, Robert Daley, John R. Del Monte, Alexis Dillon, Bud Gibbons, John Hinderliter, Barbara Kern-Bush, Eric Kunde, Patrick Lee, Anne Lopez, Duncan MacDiarmid, Christopher McGinnis, Dan Overdorff, John Ritter, Ron Romano, Paul R. Sirofchuck and Timothy S. Thompson.
First Published February 29, 2012 12:00 am