Painter and Sculptor
May 23rd, 2009-June 27th, 2009
Essie Green Galleries
Essie Green Galleries exhibits the works of acclaimed Chicago sculptor and painter, Geraldine McCullough.
This memorial exhibition honors the life and work of Geraldine McCullough. Born in 1917, McCullough graduated with a masters from the Art Institute of Chicago.
She was encouraged to turn to welded sculpture by master sculptors Richard Hunt and Rudolpho Seno.
McCullough exhibited in national galleries winning many awards in painting, including a first prize in 1961 at the annual Art Exhibit of Atlanta University. In 1964 she entered the 159th annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, without an invitation, and won the George D. Widener Memorial Gold Medal. This honor brought her national recognition. She was featured in Time, Ebony, and Chicago magazines, and appeared in radio and television interviews, including “To Tell the Truth,” “The Artist and Psychology,” “Our people,” and “The Voice of America.” As a distinguished guest artist of the Russian government in 1966, she visited Moscow, Leningrad, Azerbaidzhan, and Prague.
McCullough’s commitment to convey the universal human struggle, triumph and perfection through struggle is manifested in the combination of figuration and abstraction, which produces visual contradictions and tensions. Her paintings and sculpture possess a metaphorical essence, commenting on femininity, transformation and collective memory. Culling imagery from several artistic traditions, McCullough discovered an eloquent visual language to testify to her unique feminine and African-American personal experience.
McCullough’s imagery is impactful in its power, strength and poignancy. Her highly stylized compositions demand one’s attention. References to African ritual and spiritual iconography invite the viewer to participate in a solemn ceremony. The fluidity of her figures and abstractions mimics the movement of religious processionals. McCullough, like her art, was a commanding presence, who fused her sense of art with her sense of being.
Geraldine McCullough passed away as a renowned sculptor and painter on December 15, 2008 at the age of 91. She continued through the end of her life to work with both painting and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited in many notable collections throughout the U.S., including 'Three Generations of African American Women Sculptors' at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the National Women's Museum in Washington, DC.
Image: Geraldine McCullough, Oba-Behold the Business AKA Beware the Business, 1993, Metal Wall Hanging