Galveston Arts Center is pleased to present an exhibition of recent drawings by Houston-based artist Robert Pruitt. It will open during the August 25th ArtWalk and remain on view through September 30, 2012. Curator Clint Willour will lead a gallery talk with the artist beginning at 6:30 pm during ArtWalk. The event is free and open to the public.
Combining elements of SciFi, hiphop culture, and comic book graphics with black political and social issues, artist Robert Pruitt’s drawings address the complexity of black identity today. Using friends and family as models, Pruitt’s sitters become amalgams of ancient architecture, African royalty, and members of the church choir simultaneously imbued with eloquence and humor. “I want disrupt the surface understanding about being black,” he writes. “I want to push an understanding of blackness as an inherent and natural aspect of how I am, without the weight of radicalism. I’m not a radical, but I am unapologetically interested in telling the histories of black folks—the traumas endured and the current condition…. I’ve tried through my drawings to find a language to both uplift and affirm black people and to show the high levels of intellect, compassion and humanity, as well as creativity, that exist within each of us.” Pruitt’s figures are larger than life, both physically and metaphorically. The artist works in charcoal and conté crayon on large pieces of hand-dyed paper, his palette is subtle, accentuated with pops of color or gold leaf. All are a mixture of the contemporary and historical, the here and now while referencing the then and there.
A native of Houston, Pruitt received a BFA from Texas Southern University in 2000 and MFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2003. He was resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 2002. He has had solo exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont (2012); Hooks Epstein Galleries, Houston (2011, 2010); Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum (2006) and Galveston Arts Center (2004). His work has been included in group exhibitions at many venues, including SITE Santa Fe, PS 1/MoMA, NY, ArtHouse, Austin, and The Studio Museum Harlem, NY. His work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. He is also a founding member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates.
Galveston Arts Center is operating in a temporary downtown location on the corner of Market and 25th Streets. The exhibition gallery and selections from GAC’s retail gallery, ArtWorks, are open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. Admission is free at all times.