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Art On View at Freedman Gallery Celebrates Black Excellence

by Albright College

Mar 21, 2023

On view through April 16 are approximately 30 vibrant paintings in “Femi J. Johnson: Storyscapes” in the main gallery. Born in Manhattan and raised in Easton, PA, Femi J. Johnson enjoyed a successful career as a master draftsman and designer for Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. After thousands of technical drawings over decades of work, Johnson redirected his creative energy back to the fine arts and completed a two-year studio program at Hudson Valley Community College, where his engagement with contemporary and modernist art inspired his emerging studio practice. In 2012 Johnson returned to the Lehigh Valley, exhibiting extensively across the region and internationally. His works embody a uniquely raw and permissive form of contemporary abstraction with harmonized color, figural shapes and snippets of line drawing, photographs or news clippings all coalescing as expressions of Johnson’s worldview. Familiar places, formal or self-educated beliefs, and personal or media-influenced subjects saturate his mutable compositions, freeing the viewer to explore interchangeable scenarios. Translating chaos into temporary but believable order on canvas, Johnson’s cohesive improvisations exalt the rich connectivity of life. A full-color catalogue with critical essay by professor Kristen T. Woodward is forthcoming.

Alumna Autumn Spears returns to Albright with a new body of work to be paired alongside important works from her time as a student, including examples of painting and digital illustrations, in “Autumn Spears: Becoming,” on view March 21 through April 23.. While Spears’ artworks often examine ideas that have personal meaning, they resonate broadly through cultural connections to religion and spirituality, the shared experiences of African-Americans and those concerned with social justice issues, and a global civilization living through the pandemic, which the artist experienced as both a student and a teacher.

Join us for the following related events:

  • Artist’s Lecture, Thur., March 23, 4 p.m., Klein Lecture Hall (CFA 235)
  • Reception, Thur., March 23, 5-7 p.m., Freedman Gallery

The artist’s lecture is an EXPERIENCE EVENT for student academic credit.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-4 p.m., and all events are free and open to the public. View virtual tours and presentations from past exhibitions on our YouTube page.

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