Art@UMUC Magazine, Fall 2015

Page 1

FALL 2015

News and Perspectives for Friends of the Arts



Akili Ron Anderson: Black Power in Art



Raoul Middleman’s Romantic Expressionism: Honoring 55 Years of Artistic Excellence





Arts Program Out and About: Richmond and Hampton, Virginia



GREETINGS From the President Dear Patrons, The arts inspire creativity in all of us, and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Arts Program—now with more than 2,800 works in its permanent collection—constantly inspires me. It includes pieces from some of the region’s most talented artists, whose masterful works on canvas and paper and in other media invite dialogue with us as viewers. Often, that dialogue delves into subjects and topics that we might not encounter in our everyday lives and conversations. And each of us experiences that dialogue in a different way. One may be fascinated by the use of color or texture. Another may notice and try to understand how light is used and captured in a particular work. Someone else may be drawn to a piece’s historical context. No matter what one’s personal focus may be, all art invites us to think and wonder and explore. That is part of what makes our Arts Program such a rich addition to the fabric of UMUC—a university that focuses on teaching and learning, inspiring students to expand and build on what they know and to think in creative and constructive ways. Art can be a tool for both introspection and transformation and as such plays an important role in the educational experience. Our next major exhibition—for Washington, D.C., native Delilah W. Pierce—represents a special learning opportunity. This important exhibition, which opens September 27, offers insights into the evolving skills and worldview of an artist and educator whose career spanned more than 65 years. Your generous support of the Arts Program allows us to continue to bring a rich and diverse array of exhibitions to our students, faculty, and staff and the local community. I thank you for your commitment to this important initiative—and I hope to see you at one of our exhibition openings soon. Sincerely,

Javier Miyares, President University of Maryland University College

From the Chair Dear Friends,


MISSION STATEMENT With a regional and national focus, the Arts Program is dedicated to the acquisition, preservation, study, exhibition, and interpretation of works of art of the highest quality in a variety of media that represent its constituents and to continuing its historic dedication to Maryland and Asian art.

Fall is almost here, and I am excited to tell you what the Arts Program has coming up in the next few months. On September 27, the public will get the first glimpse of a retrospective of Delilah W. Pierce, an artistic force and leader in the arts community in Washington, D.C. She was an educator, mentor, and advocate for all artists in the region, and this important exhibition spans her work from 1939 until the late 1980s. And on November 8—mark your calendar now—you are invited to a panel discussion hosted by UMUC that will reflect on Pierce’s life and art. You’ll hear from two scholars, the artist’s great-niece, her gallery representative, and UMUC’s own director and curator. Then early in 2016, UMUC will proudly host the work of Akemi Maegawa, an artist whose work incorporates ceramics, fiber, installation components, and conceptual work. This Japanese-born resident of Maryland, who studied both in Washington, D.C., and outside of Detroit, Michigan, is recognized for breaking the traditional boundaries of sculpture. I look forward to experiencing the works of these very different and gifted artists. As we look ahead to this stimulating programming, I want to thank you for supporting the fundraising efforts that I mentioned in the spring newsletter. But we’re not done yet! If you have not yet become a Friend of the Arts member, please join us. And I also invite you to participate in our online art auction, which will conclude on September 12, the evening of the UMUC Cyber Gala. The auction features original works from some of the best artists in our region, including Kwabena Ampofo-Anti, Alan Binstock, David Driskell, Helen Frederick, Raoul Middleman, and Joseph Sheppard. Details and registration are at I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming event—and seeing your name on our list of supporters. Sincerely,

Anne V. Maher, Esq., Chair, Art Advisory Board University of Maryland University College


12 4

Raoul Middleman’s Romantic Expressionism: Honoring 55 Years of Artistic Excellence

Akili Ron Anderson: Black Power in Art



Delilah W. Pierce: Natural Perspective UMUC will showcase the art of Delilah W. Pierce with an exhibition that begins in September. Find out more about about the event on page 21.

Delilah W. Pierce, Fishing Boats at Martha’s Vineyard, 1951, watercolor on paper, 12 x 16 inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, Doris Patz Collection of Maryland Artists

Arts Program Out and About: Richmond and Hampton, Virginia


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Untitled (King) artwork by Akili Ron

Anderson; Raoul Middleman greets art patrons and signs his catalog at the exhibition opening reception; artist Sonya Clark shows her inspiration for her artwork entitled Triangle Trade




FALL 2015 Managing Editor Eric Key Editors Sandy Bernstein Beth Butler Nancy Kochuk Director, Institutional Marketing Cynthia Friedman Graphic Designer Jennifer Norris Project Manager Laurie Bushkoff Arts Program Staff Rene Sanjines Brian Young

In April 2015, the Arts Program at UMUC received a generous gift from Stephen Stein and Michael Abrams: 16 poignant color photographs by Chan Chao, an American photographer known for his color portraits.

Chao was born in Kalemyo, Burma (now officially called Myanmar) and at age 12

immigrated to the United States with his family. He studied under John Gossage at University of Maryland, College Park. Over the course of his career, he has produced three books of his works: Burma: Something Went Wrong, Letter from PLF, and Echo.

Chao lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, and teaches at George Washington University.

His work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City; G Fine Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Arlington Art Center, Arlington, Virginia; and University of Maryland, College Park.

The 16 photographs given to UMUC all come from the portfolio entitled Santa

Monica: Six Years and Eight Months, which depicts women in a Peruvian prison, a place known as the detention center for women caught and implicated in drug smuggling activities. Santa Monica prison contains an unusually diverse convergence of lives, stories, and needs. Through this portfolio, viewers get a glimpse of the dignity of the women and the struggles they endure. And through the photographs, the women’s collective plight calls out for our sympathy.

While UMUC has recently added extensively to its works on paper collection—

including works from the Maryland Printmakers, black-and-white photographs by Aubrey Bodine, and Polaroids by Andy Warhol—this new gift is the largest and most

UMUC Art Advisory Board Javier Miyares, UMUC President Anne V. Maher, Esq., Chair Eva J. Allen, Honorary Member Alvah T. Beander Myrtis Bedolla, Vice Chair Joan Bevelaqua I-Ling Chow, Honorary Member Patricia Dubroof Nina C. Dwyer Jeannette Glover Karin Goldstein, Honorary Member Juanita Boyd Hardy, Honorary Member Sharon Holston, Honorary Member Pamela Holt Michèle E. Jacobs, Past Chair Eric Key Thomas Li, Honorary Member David Maril, Honorary Member Barbara Stephanic, PhD Past Vice Chair, Honorary Member Dianne A. Whitfield-Locke, DDS Sharon Wolpoff University of Maryland University College is a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland. Art@umuc is published twice a year by UMUC’s Art Advisory Board. Please send comments to or mail to Magazine Editor Arts Program University of Maryland University College 3501 University Boulevard East Adelphi, MD 20783-8007 Phone 301-985-7937 • Fax 301-985-7865

important group of color photographs in the UMUC permanent collection. PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Cover: John Woo; Inside cover:

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: Chan Chao, Melissa, 2006, color print, 26 x 20 inches, UMUC Permanent

Collection, Maryland Artist Collection, Gift of Stephen Stein; Lisano, 2006, color print, 26 x 20 inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, Maryland Artist Collection, Gift of Stephen Stein


Katherine Lambert, Jonah Koch; p. 1 clockwise from top left: John Woo, Tracey Brown, Meg Roberts; pp. 2–5 John Woo; p. 6 top: John Woo, bottom: photographer unknown; p. 7–11 John Woo; p. 12 Benjamin Middleman; pp. 13–14: John Woo; p. 15 artist sketch: John Woo, all others: Tracey Brown; p. 16–17 John Woo; p. 18: Taylor Dabney; p. 19 clockwise from top left: Eric Key, Eric Key, Richard Ward; pp. 20 John Woo; p. 21 top to bottom: Brian Young, John Woo; courtesy of Irvine Contemporary


By Eric Key

Did you know . . . Photographer A. Aubrey Bodine,

Carroll Sockwell, an abstract

Japanese artist Yoshiko Oishi-

John Blair Mitchell, who taught

who worked for the Baltimore

painter born in Washington,

Weick, who maintains the

art at Towson University for 42

Sun’s Sunday Sun Magazine

D.C., was a part of the art scene

tradition of Asian ink wash

years before retiring in 1991,

for fifty years, is best known

in the 1960s and ’70s before his

painting called Sumi-e, was

was a founding member of both

for his black-and-white images

tragic death in 1992?

born in Daegu, Korea, but

the Baltimore Museum of Art’s

of Baltimore and Maryland

now lives and works in the

Print and Drawing Society and

landmarks and traditions?

Washington, D.C. area?

the Maryland Printmakers?

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: A. Aubrey Bodine, Commercial Typing Department (detail), 1928,

gelatin silver print, 7¾ x 9 5⁄8 inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, Maryland Artist Collection; Carroll Sockwell, Fione #4 (detail), not dated, pastel on paper, 2¼ x 5¼ inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, Maryland Artist Collection; Yoshiko Oishi-Weick, Orchid and Plum (detail), 2004, India ink on paper, 28 x 54 inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, International Collection; John Blair Mitchell, Bioglyth VI (detail), 1973, acrylic and mixed media, 48 x 33 inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, Maryland Artist Collection




Black Power IN ART




kili Ron Anderson has been creating art practically

Anderson grew up in a Methodist household, and his parents

from the time of his birth. He seemed to be born with

were strict. They did not allow him to be a part of adult

a creative gene that put him on the road to become

conversations—however, they would ask him to show his

a visual artist at a young age.

drawings to their friends. Because of this, Anderson became

known in the community as an artist.

Anderson was born in Washington, D.C., on February 19,

1946, to Frances Holmes-Anderson and Russell Anderson.

His mother attended Howard University in the 1940s; his

unrest in the wider world. Anderson remembers the murder of

father was a career military man in the army and a carpen-

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was killed on

ter. Both supported his artistic endeavors by buying him art

August 28, 1955. “I was afraid, and I thought this could

supplies, and their knowledge of arts and crafts provided the

happen to me,” Anderson said. To deal with the tragedy and

groundwork for Anderson’s growth as an artist. His father’s

his fear, Anderson turned to his canvas and paints.

carpentry skills, in particular, provided the foundation for

Anderson to explore sculpture.

from visits to Virginia. He remembered public places where he

could not go and places, such as the movie theater, that were

As a child, Anderson spent his days looking out of the

Although young, Anderson was all too conscious of social

Anderson also had first-hand experience of segregation

front window of his home drawing, sketching, and document-

reserved for “Colored Only.”

ing his imagination on paper and canvas. To take a break

from drawing, Anderson would walk around to the corner

Washington, Anderson was determined to be involved even

store, which also served as a source of creative inspiration.

though his parents would not allow him to attend the nearby

In those days, he was not very social, but over the years he

rally. As a result, Anderson got involved with the civil rights

trained himself to be a conversationalist.

movement through his art. He produced works that were

Afrocentric and carried a message. One such painting was

The Anderson family eventually moved across the city

from Northeast to Northwest D.C., to a working class community that demanded the best from their children. One of six children in the household, Anderson spent his days drawing while other family members carried on their conversations.

By 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on

a portrait of Dr. King, entitled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In this piece, Anderson depicts the historic figure in a side profile with a ray of light beaming on his forehead and his mouth open. Anderson creates ambiguity by not detailing King’s attire, letting the viewer wonder if he wears a suit or a robe or a clerical collar. He might be making his famous “I Have a Dream” speech or delivering a sermon. King’s right hand is raised and expressive with the figures spread open.

Anderson played

with light and color, but in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he truly created an interpretive work about a moment in American history. Anderson uses rich red, yellow, and gold to grayish hues with thick brush strokes from top to bottom of the canvas. The use of such colors sets the overall mood while also creating a dialogue with the viewer. As one scans the painting from left to right, the gray colors capture the dark periods of African American life from the Middle Passage, through

Akili Ron Anderson with his mural-sized artwork, Black Power



Enlightenment I, circa 2015, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches


only a handful of African American students in the freshman class—possibly the first African Americans to attend the Corcoran. Anderson’s first year, he recalls, was a learning experience in race relations.

As a student at the Corcoran, Anderson felt that the

teaching staff was not prepared to teach African American students. This experience caused him to transfer to Howard University, where he met James Amos Porter.

At the time (1965), Porter was head of the Art Depart-

ment at Howard, and he selected Anderson to be his student assistant. To this day, Anderson does not know why Porter selected him but says that he is grateful for the experiences that Porter provided him.

One such experience was the ability to work with Alvin

Carter, curator of the art gallery at Howard. As a gallery attendant, Anderson opened the gallery on weekends and for special events, a duty that allowed him to meet many of the artists. These included some of the most recognized African American artists in the art world today, such as Elizabeth Catlett. Anderson admits that he did not know who they were when he first met them, but he remembers that they were very welcoming to him. In fact, many of the artists who visited the gallery would stop to show interest in the young aspiring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1964, oil on canvas board, 24 x 18 inches

art student. However, it was Elizabeth Catlett who invited Anderson to Mexico to work on a performance art project

slavery, up to the death of Emmett Till. However, the brighter

some years later.

hues to the right create a more hopeful atmosphere.

involved with the theater department. New teachers Ed Love

Anderson attended Cardozo High School, but he admits

While studying at Howard University, Anderson also got

he was not a good student. Although he had straight A’s in

(sculpture) and Paul Carter Harrison (theater) were looking

math, Spanish, and a few other subjects, he did not do well in

to integrate the departments on the campus and they asked

his college prep courses. However, Anderson wanted to seek

Anderson to co-design the set for the play Tabernacle with Ed

a higher education, and in 1964, one of his high school

Love. Afterward, Anderson began to design sets for other plays.

teachers, Grace Chichester, introduced him to the Corcoran

School of the Arts and helped him get a full scholarship there,

because of his involvement with student protest rallies and

despite his poor academic record. At the time, there were

university building sit-ins. Since the mandatory draft was in

Anderson left Howard University before graduating

LEFT TO RIGHT: young Akili Ron Anderson, circa 1953; Weight of the World, wire sculpture created for the Cardozo High School Art Fair, circa 1964; artists Kevin Cole, Adger Cowans, Nelson Stevens, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Akili Ron Anderson, and Michael Harris at the AfriCOBRA Conference in Atlanta, 2013



place at the time, Anderson received his papers to be drafted into the army, but this wasn’t his choice for a career. He reported to the recruiting office with a list of reasons why he would not make a good soldier, detailing how he felt about war, politics, and foreign countries as well as offering his opinion about the United States and its handling of race relations. As a result, Anderson was refused enlistment into the armed services.

The artist then decided to get involved with community art

groups that utilized all the art disciplines. He felt that working in theater would provide a way for him to have direct contact with the African American community, address their issues, and help to develop an African American consciousness.

Art is a reflection of the inner spirit of the individual Therefore, I encourage artists to listen to their ancestors for inspiration and guidance in the creative process.

He did not think he could achieve these goals by exhibiting his work in art galleries. From his perspective, art galleries of the time served only a small segment of the population and generally not the black community. It became his goal to work and show his works of art in places where the African American community could see them.

The early 1970s proved to be fruitful for Anderson. He

served a two-year residency, organized by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, at McKinley High School from 1971 to 1973. In 1972, he had an exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, where he met artist Alma Thomas, the famed abstractionist of the Washington Color School. During this time, he also got involved with a community-based theater organization called Black Magic. Working with Black Magic on set design also provided Anderson the opportunity to work with his mentor and friend Ed Love from Howard University. At the same time, Anderson lent his talents as set technician to Nation: African Liberation Arts Ensemble, an organization that he co-founded. This multimedia ensemble performed locally and nationally, and notably at the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977.

In 1974, Anderson joined the new Duke Ellington School

of the Arts as the first chairperson of the art department. Here he could align himself with an organization that encompassed many artistic disciplines and both interpret the literary arts and


The artist working on a cermamic sculpture head in his studio

Reaching Out, circa 1985, India ink on paper, 11 x 49½ inches

merge them with the visual arts. In other words, Anderson transformed the theater productions by creating large-scale set designs. And once again he had the opportunity to work with his mentor and friend, Ed Love.

Anderson’s life has been one of discovery—discovery of

his cultural heritage and identity and discovery of himself as an artist. For Anderson, the two quests were intertwined. He began to emerge as an artist as he became more self-aware of his cultural identity. He began to read more about African art and culture and then began to incorporate African motifs and symbols in his painting.

Anderson strongly focuses on African American themes

as subjects, and elements of African texture and composition pervade his art. His color palette truly shows a direct parallel to the colorful textural elements of African cloth such as Kenti cloth. His colors tend toward earth tones that look as if he mixed paint with dirt rather than using typical paint store colors. Just as some artists use light, Anderson uses geometrical patterns in his art to create movement and depth.

Over the years, Anderson’s works became more Afrocen-

tric, providing a voice of empowerment, self-determination,

Synergy, 2008, fired ceramic, 12 x 12 x 12 inches

and self-awareness. Created in 1970, Black Power, a mixed media on canvas that is mounted on plywood to hold the

Humanities. For Anderson, the black represents the people

massive mural-sized work, shows two fists extending out in

(people of African descent) and the red the “blood memory”

opposite directions. One fist faces down while the other is

of the people. The green represents the land that is the origin

shown thumb-side up. Both fists seem to be coming out of the

of cultural development.

picture right at the viewer. The arms are joined in the center

with a small crude triangular design with a gold background.

created to reflect a face with horns. For Anderson, the horns

Overlapping the gold background is a line of black stretching

represent a combination of anger and determination, feelings

from left to right. Above the black is a stroke of red paint that

that are often at odds with one another. More importantly, the

is dripping with two lines falling down. Above the red is what

anger and the determination represent the attitude of those

appears to be a green tree.

fighting for civil rights.

The work is also reflective of the Mexican-style murals

Another “shaped painting,” entitled Determination, was

In the 1980s, Anderson was asked to join AfriCOBRA

where portions of the painting are proportionally larger than

(the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), a group of

other areas of the work. Inspired by Washington Color School

artists who were using a wide array of colors in their works.

painter Sam Gilliam, who was working in large colorful

Originally called COBRA (the Coalition of Black Revolutionary

abstracts at the time, Anderson created this work as part of a

Artists), the organization was formed in 1968 to produce art

series of what he called “shaped paintings” while he was an

that spoke directly to the needs, aspirations, and experiences

artist-in-residence at the DC Commission on the Arts and

of African Americans.



Creation, circa 1980, mixed media on paper, 29 x 21 inches


I credit all those who have helped me along the waY . . . So now, I have dedicated my tenure to training the next generation of artists to listen to their ancestors, learn their craft and the business of art, and produce the best art that they can.

Miles, circa 1963, wire, 44 x 26 x 26 inches

In the first year of his membership, Anderson produced

explores the use of found objects from his everyday surround-

Creation. In Creation, he uses a kaleidoscope of mostly

ings. In this work, created by Anderson as a high school

triangle-shaped colors to depict the birth of of humankind.

student (1963), Miles is kneeling, holding a trumpet to his

Toward the top righthand corner of the work, Anderson

mouth, angled to the sky. Created from clothesline wire, the

creates a circle with three female faces. To the left of that

work captures the spirit of the music that Anderson often

circle, Anderson uses brighter yellows, burgundies, oranges,

listened to when creating.

light greens, and purples to create the sun. Below it is an

image of Africa, also in brighter hues. Anderson cleverly

are born directly from his experience. He simply looks into

creates the female torso belonging to the primary head of the

himself to paint, communing with his inner spirit and the

three in the circle. The arm stretching inward over the canvas

ancestors to create meaningful works of art. It is truly his faith

and over the image of Africa suggests a mother caring for

that drives him to paint, and he believes it is his community

and protecting her child, in this case Africa herself. Below the

and students that keep him energized. He wants his art to

bottom of the figure is a series of African American faces

inspire the community and liberate the viewer to do positive

Anderson says his art moves and drives him. His works

created with Anderson’s triangular-shaped colors. The male

things for others.

faces, which may be seen either as a series of five individual

heads or as one head that is in continuous motion, rotate

Anderson loves teaching and interacting with students. He

inward into the canvas until an angled, larger face emerges.

has now been a professor of art at Howard University in the

Department of Art since 2009. He brings to the classroom a

Anderson enjoys working with found objects and materials

A painter, stained glass artist, sculptor, and set designer,

that are in his surroundings. Such materials can be paper

magnificent knowledge of art theory, practice, and history—

bags, shingles for a roof, or scraps of metal. Thus, this

especially African American history.

fascination with found objects propels him to explore different

mediums. He doesn’t lock himself into any artistic style. He

University in 2008.

Anderson received his BFA and MFA from Howard

simply paints and creates sculptures that he feels directed to produce. In the work titled Miles—named after master trumpet player, band leader, and composer Miles Davis—Anderson

Eric Key is the director of the Arts Program at UMUC.



Raoul Middleman has created over 8,000 paintings in his massive two-story studio in Baltimore. At age 80, the energetic artist still paints daily.



RAOUL MIDDLEMAN By Laurence M. Porter, PhD


aoul Middleman, a Baltimore artist, studied at the

University Art Museum, a sculpture whose every angle

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and at the

rewards close viewing.

Brooklyn Museum School during the glory years of the

New York school of painters and poets. After art school,

tion. Masked by its rough finish, his bravura style recalls

he reports moving to New York’s Lower East Side and paint-

the virtuosic draftsmanship of a Larry Rivers. He often

ing abstract expressionist style, emulating mainly Willem

produces a painting a day. Some are just sketches, but

de Kooning. The influx of talented refugees from Europe

none is trite; none is predictable. His visual art powerfully

from the 1930s to the 1950s had shifted the center of the

combines a sense of the unrelenting flux that history has

Western art world from Paris to New York. (A strong French

imposed on his times, with a radical return to the convic-

influence persists; both Raoul and his wife, Ruth, were

tion of the Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix that what

marked by their study in Paris). Middleman, whose Russian

makes men of genius is the obsessive conviction that what

Jewish ancestors were persecuted both by German Nazis

has been said has still not been said enough. Middleman’s

and Russian Communists, had a natural existential affinity

talk at the Troika Gallery in Easton, Maryland, in 2014—

with these immigrants.

the videotape is available on—

explains his aesthetics.

Middleman and Ruth (née Channing), a wonderfully

Middleman never lacks energy, audacity, and inspira-

whimsical artist, were urban pioneers, renovating an

abandoned Baltimore row house in a then-gritty neighbor-

figure,” he said, and combined their Renaissance vision

“I learned from Titian and Giorgione how to model a

hood between the railway station and the freeway. They live

with a Romantic worldview, with Burke and Kant’s under-

their vision. Their home’s secret core reflects their sense

standing of the sublime. Beyond the pleasing picturesque

of the sublime indwelling in the ordinary: they combined

and orderly beauty lies the awesome, which transcends

the second and third of the four stories into a single vast studio, with a catwalk running around the edges of the walls ten feet up. It recalls de Kooning’s self-designed two-story studio in Springs on Long Island or the intricate inner

Artwork above: Raoul on Fire, not dated, oil on board, 24 x 16 inches, UMUC Permanent Collection, Maryland Artist Collection, Gift of the artist

spaces of Donald Judd’s homemade desk in the Yale

Laurence M. Porter is a professor emeritus at Michigan State University.



boundaries. Although, says Middleman, the artist tries to

collision with the world of appearances.”2 In his still lifes,

reduce mystery to truth, the unknowable remains, always

bright yellow areas such as lemons are a frequent motif, like

dark, implacable, and fluid like life itself. It appears in many

captive suns. In two works in this show, the slimy, irides-

details of his paintings. Like sculpture, his works are meant

cent surface of the fish, in darker, mottled tones, contrasts

to be seen from more than one vantage point. “A lot of my

with the dry, bumpy surface of the lemons; and the fish,

paintings are experiments with the medium, to see how

whose eyes still appear fresh and bright, seem to stare at

it works,” Middleman says. “I show paint as paint; I don’t

you, challenging your illusion of supremacy in the universe.

want the paint to slide too smoothly.” When you look at

it from close up, you see the deliberate rough finish and

stability in his massive narrative paintings such as Gypsy

broken outlines, but when you step back, he says, “it jumps

Caravan and Custer’s Last Stand in his dynamic sketches

into an illusion.” He often abandons the pinhole, one-point

of human figures boxing, and of swirling horses and riders.

perspective of European painting from classicism through

In his portraits, Middleman works more in the tradition of

impressionism in favor of a two- or multiple-point perspec-

Rembrandt or Rubens, rather than using the slick, gleam-

tive, all the more subtly disquieting because it is projected

ing finish of an Ingres who flatters the rich or titillates our

onto an understated, realistic subject.

senses with his boneless Odalisques. “I’m an uglifier,”

he explains. At times he makes his subjects’ bodies more

He invokes Shakespeare, Mozart, and Titian to exemplify

Middleman presents his conception of history’s in-

his goal of creating a meta-discourse that breaks one form

corpulent and their skin more rough and blotchy than

or genre in order to suggest another one. “The form can

they really are. They reflect what de Kooning called “the

become an extension of the content,” he says. “You ride the

melodrama of vulgarity.”3 You don’t have to be somebody

paint like a horse: you guide it, it guides you.” In contrast,

(wealthy or socially prominent) to become the subject of

his drawings are made like snapshots, and “each take is a

a Middleman portrait.4

Custer’s Last Stand, 1967, oil on canvas, 127 x 216 inches


Romantic Expressionism

Honoring 55 Years of Artistic Excellence

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: reception attendees take a selfie with the artist;

family members (left to right) Susan Channing, Laurence Channing, and Monique Jackson-Middleman; Baltimore painter Greg Fletcher views a Middleman drawing; a former student of the artist, Baltimore artist Joe Giordano, surprises Middleman during the event lecture; in honor of Middleman’s 80th birthday, a custom-designed cake was created featuring the artist’s paintings

The April 17 opening reception for Raoul Middleman’s Romantic Expressionism exhibition at UMUC’s Art Gallery became a lively birthday celebration honoring the talented and prolific 80-year-old Baltimore artist. After Middleman entertained guests with his trademark wit and wisdom, he got serious accolades from Laurence M. Porter, professor emeritus at Michigan State To commemorate the exhibition and celebration, Middleman has agreed to offer a limited edition, signed and numbered etching, Myself@80, for

University, Patricia Mainardi,

$500 to benefit the Arts Program at UMUC.

freelance curator and

Reserve your print by calling 301-985-7642 or e-mailing

who befriended the

a professor at City University of New York and visiting distinguished professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, and art consultant Heidi Müller, artist during his time in Munich.

Raoul Middleman, Myself@80, 2015, etching, edition of 50, 15 x 11 inches, (image) 4 x 5 inches, Gift of the artist



The Portrait of Al, Middleman’s first painting at PAFA,

poised. The standing figures often have one arm akimbo

displays a powerful framework of a handsome blond man

and the other raised. The seated figures, usually in an

(a fellow student) seated and leaning forward on his

armchair, rarely have both legs or both arms in the same

bent forearms, looking like a stolid sphinx, in a realist-

position. Even the models’ fingers seem differentiated by

impressionist style. After this squared-off Al, Middleman

restless twisting motions, halted momentarily in an appar-

nearly always endows his painted and sketched figures

ent freeze-frame. The bodies may occupy as many as six

with incredible kinetic energy. They seem not posed but

different frames: eyes looking directly at the viewer; head

Midnight Snack, 1965, oil on canvas, 81 x 69 inches


rotated slightly away; torso oriented toward the viewer; hips turned away; legs turned forward again; and the feet away. Seated poses may be complicated by one leg or arm draped over an arm of the chair. The fingers of one hand are seldom aligned, and each hand is typically in a different position. Middleman’s favorite pose is a three-quarter alignment (the torso roughly forty-five degrees away from the parallel with the viewer’s plane). With the multiple figures found in many sketches, he intensifies the kinetic energy by depicting either oppositional movement (boxing) or twofold cooperative movements (horse and rider).

Midnight Snack, an exceptionally realistic image insofar

as it corresponds to our expectations for artificial renderings of reality, illustrates Middleman’s simultaneous homage to and disillusionment with pop art (in the style of Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein), with its smooth finish and glossy surfaces that actually blind us to the more complex, real physical world with its shadows and refracted light, while ostensibly dramatizing physicality. He thrusts his right hand, larger than his head, toward the viewer, like

Portrait of Al, 1959, oil on board, 21 x 27 inches

Francesco Parmigianino’s self-portrait described by John

scapes evaporate “the constrictions of tension and terror”

Ashbery in his famous poem, “Self-Portrait in a Convex

into the vapors of sea and sky, creating “a glorious but

Mirror.” The stem of the beer glass he is holding bends

fragile bubble of refracted light imperiled by storms.”

sharply into an implied fourth dimension, as if cubism were

Breakwater at High Tide echoes the choppy waves in the

returning to infiltrate a world of hyper-realism. The left hand

middle ground with the larger boulders in the foreground

holds a sandwich that conflates the hungry man’s lower lip

(one of which, during the 1938 hurricane, ended up against

with a tomato—part of the sandwich he is eating.

the inner wall of his future grandparents-in-law’s pantry

hallway, with an unbroken glass bowl sitting on top of it).

Raoul Middleman’s iconoclastic treatment of light

and of space becomes most apparent in his landscapes,

The closest boulders are incongruously highlighted, as if

seascapes, and cityscapes. You can see his Cedars and

the yellow sun just partly visible at the top center had leapt

Hail Storm in the virtual Landscape Gallery section of his

over the darkened intervening spaces. Out in the open water

website, as well as his essay, “Courbet and the Modern

to the right of the sheltering breakwater, the sea is surpris-

Landscape.” “Shafts of light that invade the dark forest

ingly calm. The artist’s seascapes and the landscapes both

interior have an unnerving twitch, like a jittery muscle . . . ,”

often use strongly contrasted diagonal movements, form-

he wrote. “The distinctions between foreground and middle

ing an X, neither arm of which ends at the viewers’ eyes.

distance are in constant flux,” whereas Courbet’s sea-

The line of a beach contrasts jarringly with the thrust of a breakwater; a fan of tree trunks and branches emanating from a lower corner of a river or marsh scene leads our gaze upward toward the sky, while the flow of a stream in the middle distance, and the opposite bank that frames it, rises crisscross but more gently in the opposite direction. An except from the UMUC exhibition catalog, Raoul Middleman’s Romantic Expressionism: Honoring 55 Years of Artistic Excellence


Allusion to the self-selected nickname of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). This artist from Edo (present-day Tokyo) drew thousands of images of land- scapes and from the daily lives of people at all social levels, celebrating both the sublime and the ordinary.

2 Telephone interviews, January 2015. 3

Breakwater at High Tide, 1975, oil on board, 24 x 24 inches

As you could see in his recent show at the MICA Meyerhoff Gallery, his selfportraits repeatedly demonstrate that he never exempts himself from his unsparing vision, in which life wears on us until it wears us out. Selfies: Over 50 Years of Raoul Middleman’s Self Portraits, January 30–March 15, 2015.

4 “Beer with a Painter: Raoul Middleman” interview by Jennifer Samet, November 9, 2013.




On Saturday morning, June 6, at 6:30 a.m.

30 art collectors, artists, art patrons, UMUC staff, and other

to Hampton University, founded in 1868, now identified as

art lovers began gathering at The Leroy Merritt Center for

one of 106 historically black colleges and universities in

the Art of Joseph Sheppard to take part in a daylong art

the United States. There we toured the Hampton Univer-

adventure to Richmond and Hampton, Virginia. This year’s

sity Museum. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, PhD, curator of the

trip, sponsored by the UMUC Arts Program, included visits

museum, welcomed us and gave us a historical overview of

to the studios of contemporary artists Sonya Clark, Richard

the nation’s oldest African American museum. We visited

Ward, Kwabena Ampofo-Anti, and Greg Henry. Everyone

the many gallery spaces dedicated to African art, Native

After a 45-minute visit, we boarded the bus for the trip

was excited about the day ahead,

American art, and African Amer-

so we introduced ourselves and

ican art, and then Thaxton-Ward

soon began chatting about our

brought us to a special exhibition

shared interest in art.

recognizing the late Elizabeth Cat-

lett. The exhibition includes prints

The two-hour journey south

on Interstate 95 and through

by the artist, many which had not

the beautiful historic district of

been publicly displayed before.

Richmond, Virginia, brought us to

our first stop: the combined home/

and sunny as we visited other

studio of Washington, D.C., native

sites on campus—including the

Sonya Clark. She and her husband

William R. and Norma B. Harvey

Darryl Harper, an accomplished

Library, home to two large murals

musician and chair of the music

by artist John Biggers. House of

department at Virginia Common-

the Turtle and Tree House epito-

wealth University, greeted us.

mize Biggers’ style and voice as

an artist. The paintings, which he

Clark’s art is “a strong

The day on campus was hot

statement of cultural identity,”

dedicated to women, are meta-

according to A History of Art in

phors for the human experience

Africa. Her works have been in-

of growing, learning, and thinking.

cluded in more than 250 museums

Our next stop was a studio

and galleries in the United States,

visit with artist Kwabena Ampofo-

South America, Africa, Asia, and

Artist Sonya Clark installs her artwork from the Comb Series.

Europe. We were interested in

Anti, an art history professor at Hampton University. This Ghana-

Clark’s descriptions of her art, as she offered details about

born ceramic sculptor shared his inspiration and creative

works such as the Comb Series, in which black plastic

process with us by demonstrating how he is working on his

combs speak to hair culture, race politics, and antiquated

current project. His architectural sculptures, which range

notions of good hair and bad hair.

in size from three to seven feet tall, represent houses in


Ghana, although they do not conform to our traditional no-

College of Art graduate who currently teaches art at Chris-

tion that houses have four sides. His are generally round or

topher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.

geometrical in shape; some stand straight up while others

seem to want to tip over. He works to create a sanctuary

he himself draws inspiration from his home country where

through which the ancestors can communicate their “pres-

roosters roam free and bulls are part of the landscape of

ence” to the present. Ampofo-Anti also showed us smaller

everyday life. True to his heritage, these images—a rooster

ceramic pots and explained their African symbols.

sitting on the back of a bull, a rooster standing on a fence

crowing against the backdrop of the bright yellow sun, or

Next on the agenda was lunch at Ma Shirley’s Tasty

Henry inspires students to paint from their hearts, and

Delight, a small restaurant known for its southern coun-

a house that is constructed on stilts (Guyana is below sea

try cooking and authentic Philippine cuisine and totally

level)—show up in his works.

amazing desserts. The staff was graceful and the food was

awesome, so with full stomachs, we journeyed to our next

and in conversation with visitors. His works are in various

stop on the tour—the home and studio of Richard Ward.

private and public collections throughout the country,

This Washington, D.C., native clearly is inspired by music,

including the Hampton University Museum. His works are

jazz in particular, and Africanism. As an artist and an edu-

even represented in the collections of a couple of our art

cator, Ward explores the movements of music in his three-

colleagues on the tour! The next time you visit Ronald Rea-

dimensional works, which are embellished with thick paint

gan Washington National Airport, look for his mosaic works

and refurbished wooden items, paint brushes, and musical

near the Delta security entrance.

instruments. While he is known for creating large public art

pieces with mosaic designs that incorporate glass, tiles,

After a full day of appreciating art, walking across Hamp-

and other found objects, he is also a masterful painter.

ton University’s campus, and eating amazing food, we all

gratefully settled into our seats on the bus. It was a quiet—

The tour ended at the warehouse studio of Guyana artist

Henry proudly shares his heritage, both in his artwork

Finally, it was time to begin the trek back to UMUC.

Greg Henry, a painter and sculptor who works in metal and

and satisfied—ride back home, but the inevitable question

wood as well as canvas and paper. He’s a Maryland Institute

came up: “Where are we going next year?”


Greg Henry’s wood and metal sculpture, Bird Tree; Kwabena Ampofo-Anti gives art enthusiasts a sneak peek at his work in progress; Karma, a concrete and mosaic sculpture by artist Richard Ward



NEWS AND EVENTS Silent Art Auction to be Held at UMUC Cyber Gala

If you make the winning bid, you will be

credit card used to finalize the purchase.

able to take possession of your purchases

Also, all costs associated with shipping are

on the evening of the auction. If you are not

the responsibility of the purchaser or bidder.

The Arts Program is pleased to offer major,

attending the gala, you can retrieve your pur-

There are no buyer’s premiums (adminis-

collectible works of art by some of the area’s

chases at the Arts Program office in Adelphi

trative fees). Purchasers pay only for the

emerging and established artists through a

until September 17. At that time, all remain-

item and a 6 percent sales tax— as well as

silent auction conducted in conjunction with

ing purchases will be shipped to the owners,

shipping and packing fees, if applicable.

the UMUC Cyber Gala on September 12,

at the owners’ expense.

2015. Proceeds from the auction will benefit

us at or call 301-985-7937.

both the university’s cybersecurity students

must be paid for on the evening of the event.

On behalf of the Arts Program at UMUC,

and the UMUC Arts program. In addition

The credit card used to register will be the

thank you in advance for your support.

All purchases are final, and all purchases

To be notified of auction details, e-mail

to supporting the university’s mission, purchasers will be acquiring art that was created by artists who have works in major museums and private collections and that has a high financial value.

The items in this year’s auction are

Here is a sneak peek at a few of the items that will be auctioned off. Included are Kathryn O'Grady's watercolor duck portrait; a woodcut by David Driskell entitled Mask with Lobe; and Cynthia Farrell Johnson’s colorful seascape, Chesapeake Bay. Bid on these and many more at

collectible works created by artists from Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Artists who were gracious enough to donate their works currently include David Driskell, Joan Bevelaqua, Cynthia Johnson, Preston Sampson, Noi Volkov, Shelia Crider, Susan Goldman, Richard Franklin, Winston Harris, Tim Davis, Patrick Craig, Philip Koch, Alan Binstock, Ulysses Marshall, Helen Zughaib, Margo Humphrey, Loring Cornish, Matt Klos, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard, Kevin Cole, Nina Dwyer, Tunde Odunlade, Trace Miller, Joseph Sheppard, Anne McLaughlin, Helen Frederick, Curlee Holton, Sharon Wolpoff, Greg Henry, Alec Simpson, Raoul Middleman, Jim Adkins, Kwabena Ampofo- Anti, David Medwith, James Phillip, and Alonzo Davis—and the list is growing.

Auction items will be available for view-

ing on the Arts Program webpage at umuc. edu/art. You will also be able to follow the link to register and bid.

The auction will be handled electronically

so that the general public can bid along with those attending the Cyber Gala. Although you do not have to attend the gala to participate in the auction, you must register online. You will be notified if someone outbids you and you will be able to designate maximum bids on items.

The electronic bidding process will open

to all registered participants on September 1, 2015, and conclude on the evening of the auction. Bidding may continue right up until the closing of the auction.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Kathryn O’Grady, Wanda’s Look, crayon, watercolor, metallic pigment on paper, 15½ X 12½ inches; David Driskell, Mask with Lobe, 2004, color woodcut, 21¼ x 21¼ inches; Cynthia Farrell Johnson, Chesapeake Bay, mixed media, gouache,acrylic and collage, 15¼ x 9 7⁄8 inches

NEWS AND EVENTS Reini Maters Exhibition

Upcoming Events UMUC CYBER GALA AND SILENT ART AUCTION Saturday, September 12, 2015, 6:30–10 p.m. Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center 201 Waterfront Street National Harbor, Maryland

Some 50 enthusiastic art lovers attended the June 4 reception for impressionist painter Reini Maters at the U.S. District Courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland. The artist’s landscapes and seascapes, painted outdoors (en plein air), were particularly suited to this exhibition space where natural sunlight streams through big glass windows. UMUC has been collaborating with Judge Peter Messitte for nearly 20 years on these courthouse exhibitions.


DELILAH W. PIERCE NATURAL PERSPECTIVE September 27, 2015–January 3, 2016 UMUC Arts Program Gallery, Lower Level College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center Exhibition Reception Sunday, November 8, 2015 Panel Discussion: “Delilah Pierce and Art” Sunday, November 8, 2015, 3–5 p.m. In conjunction with Maryland Business Summit Floyd Coleman, PhD, art historian Jerry Langley, attorney, art researcher, and art collector Wanda Spence, great-niece of the artist Myrtis Bedolla, owner, Galerie Myrtis Delilah Pierce (1904–1992) taught art in D.C. public schools with Washington Color School artist Alma Thomas and was very active in the local art scene as a mentor, advocate, art educator, and activist. She was inspired by her trips to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, as well as to Africa and Europe. Pierce was known for caring about people, especially her students, and did little to promote herself or her art. This exhibition will draw attention to the work of this important local artist.

AKEMI MAEGAWA EXHIBITION January 17–April 17, 2016 UMUC Arts Program Gallery, Lower Level

Artists and art lovers, take note. Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016—that’s when we will celebrate winners of next year’s Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibition (BMRE), an enormously popular event sponsored by the UMUC Arts Program. The BMRE, designed to draw attention to the work of seasoned and emerging artists in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, connects our community and brings world-class art

Exhibition Opening Reception and Artist Talk Sunday, February 7, 2016, 3–5 p.m. Lower Level, Conference Room College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center Eric Key, UMUC Director Akemi Maegawa, Artist Akemi Maegawa, born in Japan, graduated from the Corcoran College of Art & Design (BFA, 2005) and the Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA, 2007) and currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. Her works question our material world, the artist’s position in society, and cultural barriers to communication, as well as her hopes and fears. Though her work is not easily categorized, she is especially known for sculpture and ceramics. She continues to explore techniques such as incorporating and transforming found objects into works of art.

to our students, faculty, staff, and friends. Look for the call for entries early next year.

Want to stay up-to-date on BMRE

ARTWORK ABOVE, TOP TO BOTTOM: Delilah W. Pierce, In Bloom, not dated, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 19 3⁄8 x 14¼ inches, Collection of Louis Ford; Akemi Maegawa, Baby Bottles with Tank, 2006,

porcelain, 5½ x 2½ x 2½ inches, Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Irvine Contemporary

dates and other UMUC Arts Program activities? Send your contact information to and we’ll add you to

Get the latest updates on the UMUC Arts Program. Visit

our mailing list.



Make an Annual Contribution to the Arts Program Art enthusiasts in the UMUC community help make the university’s visual arts exhibitions, educational lectures, book signings, symposiums, and meet-the-artist receptions possible. Through the Friends of the Arts program, our biggest supporters enjoy a variety of benefits as a thank you for helping UMUC’s Arts Program become one of the most recognized in Maryland. Simply commit to making an annual contribution at one of the following levels and you can join our growing list of friends.

Associate (less than $35) Name recognition in the arts newsletter, invitation to exhibit openings

Friend ($35–$99) Above benefits, plus 10 percent discount on specialty items produced by the Arts Program, 10 percent discount on tickets to nonfundraising events, Arts Program lapel pin

Bronze-Level Friend ($100–$249) Above benefits, plus autographed poster from the collection

FRIENDS OF THE ARTS (January 1, 2013–present) Sapphire-Level Friends

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Richard Franklin Herman Maril Foundation Thomas Li Wolpoff Family Foundation

Citrine-Level Friends

Silver-Level Friend ($250–$499)

John and Doris Babcock Maryland State Arts Council

Above benefits, plus name recognition on the donors' wall in the Arts Program Gallery

Platinum-Level Friends

Above benefits, plus VIP invitation to dinner with the guest artist and the university president, 10 percent discount at the Common (the restaurant at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center at UMUC)

Alvah Beander Myrtis J. Bedolla Joan Burke Bevelaqua Bonnie N. Broh-Kahn Nina Dwyer Robert W. Jerome Eric Key Anne V. Maher Michael S. Tenner Marcia R. Watson

Citrine-Level Friend ($2,500–$4,999)

Gold-Level Friends

Gold-Level Friend ($500–$999) Above benefits, plus full-color art catalog from a major UMUC art exhibition

Platinum-Level Friend ($1,000–$2,499)

Above benefits, plus corporate name and logo listing on UMUC Arts Program webpage, name and logo listing on all printed materials for exhibitions and public relations materials for the season

Sapphire-Level Friend ($5,000 and more) Above benefits, plus a corporate art exhibition by a local artist coordinated by UMUC (Special requirements apply; see for details.)

Kathryn Bugg Michèle E. Jacobs and Joseph V. Bowen Jr.

Silver-Level Friends

Elena Gortcheva Julia Lindenmeier Raoul Middleman Peter E. Quint, Esq. Frances A. Volel-Stech Brian Young and Molly Deere

Bronze-Level Friends Nicholas H. Allen and Eva J. Allen Doreatha Bush

Visit and click on “Join the Friends of the Arts Program” or call 301-985-7937. Interested in being added to our e-magazine list? Send your e-mail address to 22 UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

Harriette E. Chiavacci Pamela G. Holt Sarah Lanning Lawrence E. Mize Yoshiko Oishi-Weick Charles A. Reiher Jessica Schmidt Lydia Christina Waddler

Friends David C. Bruce Tara Balfe Clifford Patricia A. Dubroof Jermaine A. Ellerbe Larry Frazier and Bonnie Nance Frazier Jean Barbara Harrod Vivian Hill Cynthia F. Johnson Theresa A. Kulstad Robert Loyal Miriam Davina Mokuena Edith Ogella Angelo Robinson Mary Ellen Simon Steven R. Stegner Barbara R. Tollerson Alfonso V. Valentino and Sylvia L. Valentino Robert S. Warren


Herbert Dauber John R. Lion and Jill A. Lion Jose Angelo Maniquis Simmy S. Papali Sonya R. Pryor Marilyn B. Wassmann

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