Dulce Ordonez, Staff Writer
The Anderson Brickler Gallery is displaying “Her Blood Runs Through My Veins,” an exhibition that focuses on the deep spiritual connections between three artists and the women in their lives.
The gallery, founded by Dr. Celeste Hart in 2017, is one of Tallahassee’s best hidden gems. It holds history within itself, as the founder’s father and grandfather practiced medicine in the building before it was turned into a place for Tallahassee’s finest artists.
Located on S. Adams Street, the gallery is easily accessible to FSU and FAMU students. Although the gallery is small, it is deeply welcoming and friendly.
Displaying works by well-known Tallahassee artists Paul Houzell, Joseph Pearson and Joe Roache, the exhibition’s large paintings and the calm atmosphere of the gallery immerse the viewer in the pieces; the women deeply personal to the artists now become part of the viewer too.
ABG emphasizes the importance of communities embracing cultural identities, especially those of African-Americans, and offers free admission to all.
In Houzell’s artist statement, he says that he is “inspired by the events of [his life], personally, collectively and politically.” The lineage of African spiritualism as a global influence is evident in Houzell’s work.
It is not often that art by a group of all black men is portrayed all at once. The Anderson Brickler Gallery focuses on portraying art by POC artists, and the current exhibition does just that. Through thought-provoking visuals, the gallery, in its carefully curated glory, brings together various communities held together by art and a common hunger for understanding various other cultures.
The intimate portrayal of women further helps connect the viewer with not only the women shown in the pieces but also with the women in their own lives. The gallery offers seating, inviting visitors to sit, linger and fully familiarize themselves with the pieces. This full experience transforms the space into something that big galleries dream of accomplishing.
Though the African-American experience in its many forms is portrayed through the artworks, the focus on one sex elevates the exhibition. Women being the artistic corner point uplifts the presentation and brings forth resilience and a strong disposition. Women in the exhibition are presented as the backbone of culture and the human experience.
Pearson does an extraordinary job of portraying this point by showcasing a woman as a dreamer in his piece “The Dreamer,” where a woman is surrounded by clouds and a single red rose hangs from above. His other works, such as “I’ve Known Pain and Sorrow” and “She-Warrior,” plant seeds in the visitor’s mind and further push historical reflection by presenting women in a contemporary way with titles that represent much more.
The pieces present women in day-to-day activities, lying on park benches, braiding each other’s hair and much more. However, they also present women as warriors, and experts in their field, as seen by Houzell’s portrayal of former tennis player, Serena Williams.
Gallery Director Karen Vargas is always ready to help a visitor learn more about the personal connections of the artists and their work. A piece by Joe Roache, “Young, Gifted and Black,” portrays a young girl painted in black and white and surrounded by vivid color and what appears to be a schoolhouse. Vargas said that the girl in the picture is one of Roache’s relatives.
Roache is an artist whom Tallahassee is deeply familiar with. Roache completed his undergraduate studies at FAMU and was commissioned in 1991 by collectors Bernard and Shirley Kinsey to produce a large mural that now sits atop the lobby of the School of Business and Industry at FAMU.
Anderson Brickler Gallery is a key piece in maintaining the rich history that Tallahassee is widely known for. The gallery helps uplift Black voices through art and serves as an inspiration to the local community. The exhibition will run until Dec. 30.