May 9 - June 14, 2008
Narrative Paintings on the History of the Blues
by Washington D.C. artist and muralist, Rik Freeman
Opening Reception: Friday, May 9, 6-8pm
An Evening with Rik Freeman, May 21, 7:30pm
iJam: Teen Night Friday, May 30, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Art with a Twist: A Chittlin' Circuit Juke Joint,
Thursday June 5, 7:30 - 9:30pm
Artist-Led Family Workshop Saturday, June 7, 10am
Through a sweeping series of vivid, action-packed paintings, the artist follows an imaginary character through the history of blues music and the turbulent social conditions surrounding him. Each narrative derives from the artist’s imagination but alludes to historical events beginning in the 1880’s when Jim Crow laws were enacted throughout the South. At that time, barred from whites-only venues, African-Americans developed alternative places to perform and enjoy music – a network of clubs and juke joints called the Chittlin Circuit.
Rik Freeman began his series about this famous circuit in the early 1990’s. To date he has completed twenty-five paintings ranging from intimate portraits of bluesmen to complex scenes depicting crowds of people in places as diverse as woodland clearings, juke joints, and jazz clubs. After its exhibition at GRACE the series will tour to other venues around the country, on its own Chittlin Circuit.
Freeman is a well-know muralist with large-scale projects at prominent metropolitan Washington sites including the Arlington County Courthouse and the D.C. Convention Center. In The Chittlin Circuit Review, Freeman draws on his mural painting talents, inserting characters into lively settings, rich with historical references.
As the first stop on the exhibition's two year tour, GRACE will also present a short film by Andrea Tree documenting a studio visit with the artist. An exhibition catalogue is available with an essay by Johanna Halford-MacLeod, Executive Director of the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund.
Greater Reston Arts Center
12001 Market Street, Suite 103
Reston, VA 20190