The Art of John Biggers: View from the Upper Room

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9780810919563: The Art of John Biggers: View from the Upper Room

Book by Alvis J. Wardlaw

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From Booklist:

The powerfully expressive work of African American painter John Biggers has been one of Texas' best-kept art secrets, but now that museums and publishers have recognized the public's interest in black art, everyone can appreciate Biggers' achievements. This volume and the exhibit it accompanies are the first retrospectives of Biggers' distinctive drawings, paintings, sculpture, and murals. A distinguished professor at Texas Southern University, Biggers was instrumental in launching the careers of a number of African American artists. His own work reflects his sense of the injustices inherent in American history and his deep affinity for African culture. Biggers' abiding theme, however, is the celebration of women. His depictions of women are both realistic and symbolic and always infused with profound respect and the clear implication that it is women who hold the world together. Biggers' African American and African women work, dance, and carry and care for children with the grace and beauty born of spiritual and physical strength. This volume's superb plates are matched with informative and insightful commentary, which includes a piece by Maya Angelou. Donna Seaman

From Publishers Weekly:

A pioneer in translating the heritage of African life into American art, Biggers developed potent spiritual symbols and geometric techniques to create a pictorial mythology. Born in 1924 in North Carolina, he began his career with realistic evocations of the black Southern experience and with murals in the Regionalist tradition of Thomas Hart Benton. After traveling widely in Africa in the late 1950s, Biggers welded archetypal motifs?e.g., Great Mother, masks, combs, water, drums?into a cosmic symbolism, producing an impressive body of paintings, drawings and sculpture that reflects his belief in the human community and its mystical interaction with the natural world. His lithograph Upper Room (1984) depicts two Southern women carrying on their wrapped heads a building?house, school, church?while alongside them a boy and girl climb toward the future on a vine?a hopeful narrative of solidarity and faith. Assembled by a variety of art scholars, this richly illustrated monograph documents a traveling exhibition that opened at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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