Monday, August 23, 2010


'True Grit' opens at Bradbury Gallery Aug. 26; five-artist show runs through Oct. 3

August 17, 2010 -- The Bradbury Gallery announces the opening of "True Grit" Thursday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. The exhibition will run through Sunday, Oct. 3; it is free and open to the public. The Bradbury Gallery is located in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. "True Grit" features the work of five American artists withexceptionally long and productive careers who continue to make thought-provoking work. Averaging 80 years of age, Judith K. Brodsky, Peter Campus, Warrington Colescott, Larry Edwards, and Lee Friedlander have each developed careers spanning more than fifty years that show no signs of slowing down. As inventive and courageous as ever, their artistic practices continue to project a sense of curiosity and engagement with the larger world of ideas. The exhibition is intended not only as homage, but also as inquiry. What fuels the unwavering devotion of these artists to work and career? Curators Les Christensen and John Salvest believe that such an investigation into the motivational forces driving these artists well past traditional retirement age has implications beyond the art world—an uncovering of the physical, cerebral, and spiritual capacities of the human condition. In a culture fixated on newness and youth, isn’t there still something to be learned from that which endures?

Judith K. Brodsky, who was born in 1933, has long been recognized as an advocate for both women artists and printmaking. She is Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Visual Arts at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, where she served as dean and associate provost as well as chair of the art department at the Rutgers campus at Newark. She is a past national president of ArtTable, the College Art Association, and the Women’s Caucus for Art.

Brodsky is the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, renamed the Brodsky Center in her honor in September 2006. Recently she served as chair of the well-received Philagrafika 2010, a citywide international contemporary visual arts festival held in Philadelphia which focused on the printed image. Brodsky has also organized and curated many exhibitions and written extensively about women and prints. She was a contributor to the first comprehensive history of the American women’s movement in art, called The Power of Feminist Art. While providing consistent and significant service to numerous professional organizations over the years, she has maintained her career as an artist and has never lost the passion to produce her own work.

Peter Campus, born in 1937, is regarded as one of the most important American video artists and as a seminal figure in the development of video as an art form. Yet he made the conscious decision to step away from video and focused instead on still photography for a dozen or more years. In this latest phase of his career, he has returned to work again in video, bringing all that he learned from these earlier periods to commence yet another visual experiment incorporating elements of both.

Among the many awards Campus has received are a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was an artist-in-residence at the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen, New York, and at WGBH-TV, Boston. Campus has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and New York University. His closed-circuit installations, videotapes and photography have been widely exhibited internationally, in one-person shows at the Bykert Gallery, New York; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; Kunsthalle Breman, Germany; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; as well as in numerous group exhibitions at festivals and institutions including Documenta 6, Kassel, Germany; Venice Biennale; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; PS1 Contemporary Arts Center, New York, and Fukui International Video Festival, Japan.

For many years, Warrington Colescott, born in 1921, devoted himself to building a world-renowned printmaking program at the University of Wisconsin while stillmanaging to be a highly productive and respected artist himself. Now retired from academia, and going on ninety years of age, he seems to be more prolific and his satirical paintings and prints more relevant than ever.

Colescott has received several prestigious fellowships, including a Guggenheim, a Fulbright and three National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowships. His early graphics were abstractions created in the medium of serigraphy. By the early 1960s, he turned his focus to intaglio printmaking and his imagery evolved into social satire and commentary. He has produced a number of narrative satires, including one on the history of printmaking. Colescott has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is included in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Bibliotheque Nationale-Paris, and numerous other public collections. He continues to work daily at his studio in Wisconsin.

Larry Edwards was born in Mississippi in 1931, a time that was economically depressed and racially tense, yet, perhaps by necessity, richly creative. His early observations and sensitivity to this period are evident still in his ongoing critique of society as seen in his imagery and subject matter. Even in his most recent body of work, from the summer of 2010, his colorful yet dark-humored paintings vigorously assess humanity’s baser instincts. In his artist’s statement he says, “I see a dangerous struggle everywhere. With the so-called ‘lower animals’ this struggle, in nature, is for simple survival. For humanity there is added complexity. Freud once said that ‘we ought not to exalt ourselves so highly as to completely neglect what was originally animal in our nature.’ The consequences of our failure to heed this advice are of primary interest to me. I do not see my work as a condemnation of life. I simply observe the struggle on all levels and report it as I see it.”

Edwards has lived and taught art at schools and universities in five states. For the past 60 years, he has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions from Maine, New Jersey, and New York to Washington D.C., Ohio, Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, as well as virtually every southern city and state on the eastern seaboard. He has received several grants, including a fellowship from the Penny McCall Foundation, Art Matters Inc. in New York, and a Tennessee Arts Commission Fellowship. Since his retirement, he spends nearly every day working in his studio, making wonderfully strange and sagacious work with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager.

Lee Friedlander, a photographer, was born in 1934. Like Edwards, he too was drawn to capturing imagery of American society. These works include portraits of jazz musicians and street photography. Producing hundreds and hundreds of striking images throughout his long career, he is recognized for his dense landscapes, self-portraits, humorous and poignant images among the chaos of city life, and countless other subjects. Friedlander’s most current work, which can be seen in "True Grit," shows an artist still working at the height of his powers late into his career.

Friedlander’s first solo exhibition was mounted at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in 1963. He has since had a vast number of solo exhibitions and was included in the highly influential 1967 New Documents exhibition, curated by John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1990, he received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Among the many monographs on Friedlander’s work are Sticks and Stones, Lee Friedlander Photographs, Letters from the People, Apples and Olives, Cherry Blossom Time in Japan, Family, and People at Work. Lee Friedlander was the subject of a major traveling retrospective and catalog organized by the Museum of Modern Art in 2005.

"True Grit" was curated by Les Christensen, director of the Bradbury Gallery, and John Salvest, professor of Art at Arkansas State University, and was previously on view at the Salina Art Center in Salina, Kansas, from January 29 through April 18, 2010.