Hayward Oubre

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structural integrity

structural integrity

Contributions by Amalia K. Amaki, Katelyn D. Crawford, Rebecca L. Giordano, Shawnya L. Harris, Marin R. Sullivan, Diana Tuite, and Hina M. Zaidi

With recollections by Carter B. Cue, Paul A. Gary, Mervin Anthony Green, Noah Jemisin, Brenda and Larry Thompson, and an excerpt from an unpublished manuscript by Floyd W. Coleman, Sr.

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama, in association with D Giles Limited

or countered the work of other theorists, but his emphasis on this approach demonstrates his belief that art and science were in alignment, not in competition.

Oubre’s time in Winston-Salem proved fruitful for his students, who benefited from Oubre’s scientific research and creative experiences, which, in turn, expanded his own artistic production. As in Alabama, Oubre revolutionized Winston-Salem’s program by becoming the department’s chairperson and pressing for a major in art. The school’s newspaper, The News Argus, documented an exhibition of work by the students under Oubre’s leadership:

This exhibition consisted of the better creations by students this school year. Primarily it is dominated by paintings emphasizing the basic color schemes and art. The students applied pigments and surfaces using the primaries and secondaries or using other techniques employed in the structural approach. The students feel that their power of communicating

through art has been enhanced by the study of art principles.⁹

The article goes on to discuss the students’ desire for a permanent art major, along with better tools and materials for conducting their work. Such concerns foreshadowed Oubre’s advocacy for continuous art instruction at the university and also his dedication to providing in-depth instruction on the fundamentals of painting.

By the late 1960s, carefully constructed geometric figures and atomic imagery signaled Oubre’s interest in space-age discoveries and innovations in computer technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Oubre’s engagement with science and astronomy became even more pronounced during the space race of the early 1960s. In 1962, Oubre completed Flight into Space, an oil painting which depicts interplanetary movement. (cat. 39) This painting pre-dates the historic 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon which provided artists such as Alma

Figure 6.2
Harris 114
Professor Hayward L. Oubre with color wheel, about 1968, photonegative, Winston-Salem State University, © C.G. O’Kelly Library
The Painter 115
Figure 6.3 Color wheel as published in Oubre’s A Concise Study of Color Mixing and Color Relationships, The Hayward Oubre Estate, Courtesy of Debra Force Fine Art, © The Hayward Oubre Estate
Oubre 52
1 Stevedore, 1945, black painted plaster with wood base, 14 × 7 1/2 × 13 in., Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Michael Rosenfeld and halley k. harrisburg, 2003.2.6

2 Self-Portrait (first strike), 1948, etching and drypoint on paper, 26 1/2 × 20 3/4 in. (framed), The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama, PJ2008.0925

3 Self-Portrait, 1948 (printed 1993), etching, 22 1/4 × 14 5/16 in. (sheet), National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection, S/NPG.2002.309

Plates 1–13 53
Oubre 62
Plates 1–13
12 Pensive Family, 1949, oil on canvas, 38 × 24 in., Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection
13 Interior Scene, about 1949, oil on canvas, 36 ¼ × 28 in., Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection
41 Untitled, about 1961, acrylic on canvas panel, 24 × 20 in., frame: 26 × 22 × 2 1/4 in., Collection of Carla and Cleophus Thomas, Jr.
Plates 31–52 141
42 Hollow Yes Man (No Heart), 1965, metal wire on wood base, 59 × 21 3/4 × 10 in., The Hayward Oubre Estate, Courtesy of Debra Force Fine Art

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