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SEPTEMBER GRAY ART GALLERY
75 BENNETT STREET
ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30309
2pm to 4pm
ARTISTS TALK RSVP NOW
Behind The Scenes
About The Artists
Sheila Pree Bright is an acclaimed fine-art photographer known for her photographic series Young Americans, Plastic Bodies, and Suburbia. She received national attention shortly after earning her M.F.A. in Photography from Georgia State University, and describe herself in the art world as a visual cultural producer portraying large-scale works that combine a wide-range of contemporary culture.
In recent years Bright has documented responses to police shooting in Atlanta, Ferguson, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. She observed young social activists taking a stand against the same struggles their parents and grandparents endured during the era of Jim Crow. In 2013 while photographing under-recognized living leaders of the Civil Rights movement, she made a connection between today’s times and the climate of the 1960s that inspired her #1960Now project.
Bright’s current and most ambitious project to date, #1960Now, examines race, gender and generational divides to raise awareness of millennial perspectives on civil and human rights. #1960Now is a photographic series of emerging young leaders affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Bright’s work is included in the book and exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture (Deborah Willis, W. W. Norton, 2009). Bright’s photographs appeared in the 2014 feature-length documentary Through the Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (Director: Thomas Allen Harris). Venues that featured her work include the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, Washington, DC; The Museum of
Contemporary Art, Cleveland; FotoFest, Houston; and the Leica Gallery in New York. She is the recipient of several awards including the Santa Fe Prize (2006), and her work is included in numerous private and public collections, to name a few; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC, Oppenheimer Collection: Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland, KS, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, GA, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, GA and
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC and the University of Georgia, Athen, GA.
Bright #1960Now series is now in the collection of the new Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum, Washington, DC and The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta GA. Also, she is one of the nominees for the 2017 Infinity Awards at the International Center of Photography, New York.
Alfred Conteh is a visual artist with a passionate desire to share his life experiences and personal truth with the African American community. Growing up in Fort Valley, Georgia –100 miles south of Atlanta – Conteh discovered his interests in the arts at a very early age. “Most people during their formative years, might see themselves in a certain position when they grew older,” he says. “I always saw myself as an artist. It was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” His enthusiasm for comic books and cartoons developed into an interest in visual arts as a student at Peach County High School. There he learned art history, technique, and skill under the direction of his mentor and art teacher, Johnny Heller. Conteh soon realized that there was a great deal more to learn and explore. He continued his education at Hampton University, earning a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. It was at Hampton where he says he formed a supportive community with fellow classmates and developed his proficiency as an artist.
Conteh then earned a Masters in Fine Arts at Georgia Southern University. There he was given free rein to develop his individual style and experiment with new mediums, expanding his repertoire from paintings and sketches to sculpture and other three-dimensional formats. As a working artist Conteh continues to develop his craft and considers himself a student of history. His personal experiences have sparked new energy toward addressing social issues impacting black communities that he has not touched before. He aims to use his art as a platform for dialogue that encourages other artists to learn about themselves and share their stories more boldly. “It’s problematic when our greatest aspiration is to seek accolades based on what the dominant culture sees worthy of awarding you. We have to see value in ourselves.”
A classically trained artist, Conteh aspires to tell a deeper and sometimes grayer story about black people in America, stretching beyond traditional images depicting slavery, church, and romantic relationships. What most excites him is the reaction to his creations over time. “I make my work for my people,” he says. “I want to appeal to African Americans and encourage them to be stewards of our culture and history.”
Kevin Cole's artistic journey has paralleled his personal sojourn to become wiser, find truth and search for pure expression. While evolving from a more expressionistic place to one of abstraction, he has deeply explored the interplay between color and music, particularly influenced by the musical art forms birthed by African American culture: such as jazz, blues, rap, and gospel.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Juan Logan now lives and works in Belmont, North Carolina. Logan’s artworks address subjects relevant to the American experience. At once abstract and representational, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos address the interconnections of race, place, and power. They make visible how hierarchical relations and social stereotypes shape individuals, institutions, and the material and mental landscapes of contemporary life.
Juan Logan is currently the Conservation Manager at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Project. This project is actively restoring thirty-one large-scale sculptures created by artist Vollis Simpson for the city of Wilson, NC.
Alexi Torres discusses the relationship between nature and man in a contemporary context emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living things. His works are exceptionally complex communicating mystery, imagination, and an element of surprise. He creates a distinctive signature, intricately weaving together organic and symbolic elements to create monumental works which challenge the viewer to see beneath the surface into the archetypal qualities of his subjects. He seeks to initiate an urgent dialogue on the effects of human thought and behavior on the ever-changing environment. “Beauty is found in the fragility of life,” says Torres, “We must see the interconnectivity of all things and appreciate how life is always slipping through our hands.”
Torres taps into universal collective memory and stimulates the imagination with playful themes and ironic juxtapositions relevant to the contemporary experience. His series range from portraits of ordinary people, cultural, military, and political icons to a diverse sampling of symbols from popular culture. These images are then reimagined and reconstructed employing his unique multi-layer painting technique. Inspired by the agrarian lifestyle of his friends and family, Torres plants an idea for each new work and harvests it at completion according to the lunar patterns followed by his ancestors in his native Cuba. To record this ritual, each painting is begun and finished on a waning moon and recorded with his signature on the canvas.
OKEEBA JUBALO is an American painter based in Atlanta, Georgia whose creations are centered on illuminating the undefined and sometimes bitter truths of people of African American descent. He uses sketchy, yet vibrant and soulfully layered paint strokes with his original hand-written poetry. His infiltration of aged photos has become a prominent characteristic of his work. His strong, in-your-face artistry invokes conversations that are seldom discussed in large social arenas.
Okeeba Jubalo has taken it upon himself to create a visual voice for those made invisible in America's social, economic and political infrastructure. He draws his inspiration from his share cropping forefathers and experience. His artwork is a reflection of his vision of his perspective on the struggle of today's African American. Religious, social and political subject matter drive the message of his artistry. His artistic technique draws the audience into a visual history lesson that speaks to today's social landscape.
Okeeba Jubalo will continue to address some of the major concerns, issues and circumstances faced by African Americans from a socioeconomic standpoint. By addressing the past, he hopes that conversations invoked by his artwork will lead to global positive actions, and educating African American youth about sacrifices made by his and her ancestors.