VALERIE MAYNARD: Artist in Print in exhibit at the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center
A major exhibition, VALERIE MAYNARD: Artist in Print, in celebration of Women’s History Month in on display at The LeRoy Neiman Art Center in collaboration with The Romare Bearden Foundation. This valuable and timely exhibition highlights the art of Valerie Maynard, a prominent contemporary African American artist, whose portfolio of prints has been placed in the collection of the United States Library of Congress.
Exhibition dates are March 10-April 15, 2017; Opening Reception – Friday, March 17, 6:8:30pm; and Artist Talk – Saturday, April 8, 4-6 @ Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center, 2785 Frederick Douglass Blvd., Harlem, NY.
A sculptor, painter, printmaker, designer and educator, Valerie Maynard was the first Artist in Residence in the Studio Museum of Harlem and is recognized as a distinguished artist of both the Black Arts Movement of the sixties as well as a contemporary artist today. Maynard has worked as a professional artist and as a conscious and contributing member of the creative community for over 60 years.
Her work is featured in private collections around the globe including the private art collections of Stevie Wonder, Lena Horne and Nobel laureate, Toni Morrison. In 1977 Maynard was part of a contingent of hundreds of African-American artists who represented the North American Zone exhibiting in FESTAC’ 77, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria. Maynard embraces all aspects of the art world, working as a fine artist, an educator, a curator, and a set designer. She has exhibited her artwork all over the United States and abroad.
Throughout her career, Maynard has received many awards including residencies in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York, The Studio Museum in Harlem where she was a part of a group exhibition Labor, Love, Live Collection in Context, held November 14, 2007 – March 9, 2008, as well as a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant in Printmaking. As an Artists’ Book Resident, she produced Lost and Found, a portfolio of ten black and white silkscreen prints that forms part of the artist’s ?No Apartheid? series expressing the terror and injustice of apartheid. Her accomplishments are unparalleled in her ability to create art on a board scale. Her technical abilities supersede what would be expected of most artists.
The literature on Valerie Maynard is scanty. Despite her creative and technical skills, there are few publications on her. “Valerie is one of our unsung women artists, who very little has been written about, ” explained Johanne Bryant-Reid, Co-Director/Co-Curator, Romare Bearden Foundation. “This exhibition gives us an opportunity to bring the spirit of her art to community and to remind us of the struggle, survival and salvation.”
Maynard embraces all aspects of the art world, working as a fine artist, an educator, a curator, and a set designer. She is a versatile, multi-media artist expressing herself through a variety of mediums including wood, glass, stone, paint, collage, printmaking, and set design. Because she uses art as a language, the medium she chooses to work with at any point in time depends largely on what her message is going to be.
This exhibition, Artist in Print, focuses exclusively on a variety of Maynard’s prints providing an entry on Maynard and her visual interpretation of the African and African American experience. There are approximately twenty-five (25) prints and two pen and ink works in the exhibition representing over three decades of a blend of expression, gesture and spirituality elements recurring in the African and African American cultural and artistic practices. A portfolio of ten black and white silkscreen prints were produced as part of the artist’s “No Apartheid” series. This work was done in 1989 with the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. Using found materials and photographs as a starting point, these beautiful prints express the terror and outrage of apartheid. The suite of ten prints featured an introduction by Toni Morrison. The Lost and Found portfolio is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum.
The apparition of images assembled in this exhibition draws upon the sculptural presence of African art and engages the viewer in what looks like an apocalyptic drama of protest, passion and pride. These compositions are full of striking binaries that also reflect a conscious harmony. The black and white forms and spaces complement one another while exploring the interplay of light and shadows offering spectral images of faces, bodies and communities. By and large, Maynard’s visual metaphor relates art to life and carries along a narrative and a sense of history that proclaims her identity as an artist.
“We are pleased to host this exhibition at The Center in collaboration with the Romare Bearden Foundation,” stated Marline A. Martin, Executive Director/Curator, LeRoy Neiman Art Center. “Printmaking was one of Mr. Neiman’s primary art forms, he was a champion of serigraphy, lithography and etching; and in the case of Romare Bearden, his serious work in printmaking included over one hundred editions in etching, lithography and screen print.”
Born in Harlem in 1937, Valerie Maynard apprenticed as a portrait painter with Elaine Jourmet before studying painting, drawing and printmaking at the Museum of Modern Art and the New School for Social Research in New York City. She received an M.A. in Sculpture from Goddard College in 1977 and has worked with wood, clay, fabric, stone and a variety of other materials over the past 50 years. She is represented in many important collections including the Brooklyn Museum, National African-American Museum, National Museum of Mozambique, National Museum of Nigeria and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
The Harlem-born and raised printmaker and sculptor has left a lasting mark on her hometown with one most notable piece – a permanent installation at the 125th Street Subway Station in Harlem.