Home > AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER PRESENTS Resurgence- Rise Again: The art of Ben Jones | Gallery 1 Amani Lewis: Subjective Nature | Gallery 2 September 13, 2019- December 15, 2019

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AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER PRESENTS
Resurgence- Rise Again: The art of Ben Jones | Gallery 1
Amani Lewis: Subjective Nature | Gallery 2
September 13, 2019- December 15, 2019
 
 
 
 
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) is excited to present new work in our next exhibitions Resurgence- Rise Again:
The art of Ben Jones and Amani Lewis: Subjective Nature. The exhibitions will run September 13th until December 15th, 2019 in downtown Pittsburgh.
“It’s a privilege to work with seminal artist Ben Jones, who has dedicated over five decades of his creative practice reimaging a more just and compassionate world to live. Having the incredible opportunity to organize an exhibition by Amani Lewis, an extremely talented, young, innovative artist, has been profoundly rewarding. Amani’s work elucidates the tenderness and respite of Black life and community in Baltimore that often goes unnoticed.” — Kilolo Luckett, Curator of Visual Arts
Resurgence- Rise Again: The art of Ben Jones (Gallery 1- BNY Mellon Gallery) features phenomenal large-scale work that brings awareness to the plight and ascension of humankind. Ben Jones is a New Jersey-based artist, activist, and educator. His artistic practice has been inspired by African spiritualism and ritual, and revolutionary struggles, especially of the people of Cuba. Mr. Jones is known for connecting politics and spirituality in his multimedia installations in order to educate the public about the environmental, social and political issues of today.
Amani Lewis: Subjective Nature (Gallery 2- Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation Gallery) features intimate, mixed-media portraits of friends and family members with the goal of showing their humanity, which often goes unnoticed. Amani is a thought-provoking visual artist that is based in Baltimore, Maryland. Their portraits challenge viewers to search beyond the surface to discover the unbiased and true story of the individuals in the portraits.
The AWAACC is devoted to presenting thought provoking artists that seek to enlighten their audiences about political, social and environmental issues.
Ben Jones
Ben F. Jones (born in 1941, New Jersey), received an MFA from Pratt University (Brooklyn, NY), MA from New York University (New York, NY) and BFA from Paterson University (Wayne, NJ). Jones has made over fifty cultural exchange visits to Cuba since the 1970's, and is
noted by the Granma International of Havana, Cuba as one of the most important African American artists of his generation. A New York Times critic recently noted of Jones’ installation at Jersey City Museum in February 2009, “Many memorable, thought provoking images that deserve to be known and appreciated.” For nearly five decades, Jones' multimedia installations have reflected his travel and research in Africa, Europe, South America, United States and the Caribbean to include the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), Studio Museum of Harlem (New York, NY) and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Havana, Cuba) to name a few. He has received numerous grants and awards including two National Endowment for the Arts grants (2007 and 1974-75), The Puffin Foundation 2005) and The Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (2002) among many others. Jones has lectured at universities, museums and cultural institutions worldwide including, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Howard University (Washington, DC), Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA), Wilfredo Lam Center (Havana, Cuba) and University of Ghana (Accra, Ghana) to name a few. He is a retired Professor of Art at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ. He lives and works in Jersey City, NJ.
Amani Lewis
Amani Lewis is an artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2016, they graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in General Fine Arts and Illustration.
“I grew up in Columbia, Maryland, a predominantly white new-suburban town. Once I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, for the first time, Black people made up most of my community. The drastic differences between these two experiences challenged my self-identity. At quick glances, it’s easy to allow the stereotypes associated with Baltimore (drugs, alcohol, homelessness, poverty, and crime) to skew one’s understanding of individual personal experiences. I am constantly challenging these perceptions, and digging into the root causes by asking questions such as: How have these issues been ignored over time? What can we do to change these realities? In my work, I draw viewers into my compositions, and aim to reveal a missing, but, vital element in these conversations: the people.
For the past two years, I have worked as a full-time Guide at the Glenstone Museum. One of my key responsibilities is to research artists in the collection and impart this knowledge on visitors. I found inspiration in artists like Robert Gober, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, and Willem de Kooning. Others, like Hank Willis Thomas, Jordan Casteel, Hannah Price, Mickalene Thomas, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Dawoud Bey, Romare Bearden, and Mark Bradford have also made great impressions on my practice.
In painting, as in society, ignorance allows for the fabrication and consumption of a “pretty picture.” By examining how Baltimore is depicted in the news, press, and across social media, I have deepened my understanding of how this city is perceived through an exterior lens. I begin with found and original photography of quotidian life in Baltimore, and then layer on expressive contour lines, a process that shifts the viewer’s focus away from the reality of the lives and circumstances of my subjects. In creating a visual cacophony, I compel the viewer to look closer, to hone in on distinct pockets of the canvas, and in the process, uncover aspects of the narrative that are seemingly—and perhaps willingly—overlooked.

As the viewer looks closer past the vibrant colors and chaotic contours, they may witness the substance that lies beneath the surface; perhaps realizing that we exist in a state of constant manipulation, controlled by those with the privilege to perpetuate inauthentic perceptions. I invite my audience to step out of this cycle to piece together the full story.”

 

 

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