Friday, April 10, 2009

Joe Max Emminger, Resident Artist

Seattle Artist Joe Max Emminger is wrapping up a productive month in the Washington Studio.  Joe has been working on a series of wood sculptures.  

One of the most interesting aspects of the Artist in Residence program at the James & Janie Washington Foundation is the possibility, space and time that the studio offers.  Every artist who has come through the program so far has been able to try something new. 

Joe is represented in Seattle, Washington by the Grover/Thurston Gallery, in Portland, Oregon by the Alysia Duckler Gallery and in Austin, Texas by Yard Dog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

James W. Washington, Jr.'s Hometown

James Washington was born in Gloster, Mississippi in 1909.  That is the year after this picture was taken.  The unknown photographer took this photo from the railroad tracks toward the white side of town.  The population, of under 500 citizens, was very segregated.   

Mr. Washington said of Gloster, "Within the confines of Gloster proper there was a sawmill. We had a big sawmill, the Gloster Lumber Company. It was owned by F. A. Anderson. Most of the men and some of the women were employed there. It was almost a company town. 
However, people did farm, but not in Gloster. They were like four or five miles out; they’d farm and they brought their produce to town. But then we had other places to work. There was an oil mill and compress, and things like that. Pickle factory, where they made pickles. The people grew cucumbers and they had pickle vats, big vats, where they pickled pickles. (laughs) That’s a good, combination, pickled pickles!" — 1987 Smithsonian Interview by Paul Karlstrom

Monday, April 6, 2009

James Washington, Gwen Knight & Jacob Lawrence

These three important artist were good friends.  Their friendship started when Mr. Washington visited New York City in the early 1950s.  He made a point of visiting Jacob Lawrence during his week long stay in the East Coast metropolis.  

They kept in touch by mail until Lawrence and Knight moved to Seattle in 1971.

In honor of artists Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, the Seattle Art Museum created the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Gallery in the newly expanded downtown museum. Upon her death, Gwen Knight bequeathed to the museum a portraitbust of Gwen by Augusta Savage and other items from their Seattle home and funded a fellowship for African-American art and artists.  

Titus Kaphar is the first artist to be awarded the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence fellowship.  The Yale painter received $10,000 and a exhibit in the gallery.  The 31 year old contemporary artist paints beautiful reproductions of paintings from the 18th and 19th century, cuts them up and skillfully rearranges the pieces to make comments about race and social position.