art Mary Whyte Alfreda's World

ISBN 13: 9780941711678

Alfreda's World

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9780941711678: Alfreda's World

Artist Mary Whyte moved with her husband to a small South Carolina barrier island 10 years ago and quite by accident met a group of senior citizens who were making quilts in a small abandoned church. Longtime residents of Johns Island and descendants of slaves, this extraordinary group of African American women changed Whyte's life and paintings in astonishing and unexpected ways. Chronicled in dialogue and images are the Gullah way of life and the evolution of an incredible friendship between the artist and Alfreda LaBoard, who became the subject of many of her paintings. Whyte uses the watercolor medium to produce rich, dark tones and textures. Her combination of tightly controlled brush strokes and loose, broad sweeps of washes, coupled with contrasts of light and dark, produce a level of intensity not usually associated with watercolor. The use of mostly transparent pigments, hard and soft edges, limited backgrounds, and simple poses bring into focus for the viewer what Whyte feels is important. Her watercolors reveal not only what it is like to be African American and living the Gullah tradition in South Carolina, but at the same time, what it feels like to one who is not.

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From the Inside Flap:

Alfreda's World is the story of shared experiences and values that deepened the friendship between two remarkable women. It is told in the watercolors and drawings that artist Mary Whyte created over a ten-year period and is the personal narrative of an artist who encounters the Gullah culture and its remarkable people. Mary Whyte, a Caucasian, moved to an island on the South Carolina coast and developed close friendships within the African-American community. Soon after her arrival, and quite by accident, she met Alfreda LaBoard and her intrepid group of senior citizens who gather weekly to make quilts and socialize in a small rural church. Long time residents of Johns Island and descendants of slaves, these women would change her life and her paintings in astonishing and unexpected ways. Alfreda's World blends Mary's beautiful art works with her narrative of this unique relationship. It is a story that crosses racial and cultural borders and reaches straight to the heart.

From the Back Cover:

"Mind if I walk down and paint the river?" I asked, gesturing in the direction beyond her turquoise cinderblock house. "Help yourself," she replied, bending down to continue her planting. "And when you finished, come on back and we'll have us a nice glass of ice tea."
Alfreda's World is a place where friendship cannot always be explained in just black and white. Sometimes it takes a bit of color.

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Whyte, Mary
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