In the 35+ year history of Woodcuts Framing and Gallery, one of the first artists to exhibit there was Frank Frazier. Decades later, he is returning again to Woodcuts, bringing his Texas Art Posse with him. The tour features other notables such as Don O’Bannon, Emanuel Gillespie, Seidah Williams, and Lakeem Wilson. Be there as they exhibit their phenomenal work for one day only, Tuesday, February 21, from 12 Noon until 6:00 p.m., in Music City in the iconic Gallery next to Fisk Jubilee Hall on historic Jefferson Street.
“Frank’s a very prolific artist,” say Nathaniel Harris, owner of Woodcuts, when I asked him what we should expect in the show. “In the past he’s done beautiful collages. He also does watercolor pastels. Recently he’s been political pieces. We sold a piece recently of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, when the police attacked demonstrators. Frank just has a variety of styles and images that he’s created and he continues to create. With Frank, you never can tell, he’s full of surprises, so you have to be here.”
Frazier uses swatches of vibrantly colored Kente cloth and figurines from countries such as Ghana and Upper Volta, and from the Ashanti tribe. His company is called “Visions in Black Gallery,” and is run by his wife, Judy. Frazier’s concerns revolve around the movement of black art galleries and Black art in America. He states that, “I’m concerned about the future of the black artist; the lasting effect of our work on our own children. It’s important that we, as artists, make some statements to affect change.”
“My goal is to portray in strong visual images the experience of African American life and highlights the significant achievements and contributions of African Americans in the diaspora, says Don O’Bannon. My paintings portray images of life, social, political and personal that highlight my own world view but contain universal themes that bind us together.”
Emmanuel Gillespie was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and earned a Master of Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has been creating for over 25 years. He is currently creating bodies of work that speak to the migration between 1910 and 1970.
Seidah Williams is Frazier’s granddaughter. Her acrylic painting on canvas feature symbols and words that evoke positive affirmations.
Lakeem Wilson is a practicing artist and educator, engaging in the beautification of urban Environments and developmental art. Drawn to art as a young man when he first saw images of black superheroes in comic books, and inspired by the urban city, Hip-hop, and public school art classes in the early 2000’s, he taught himself how to express his thoughts through visual art and drawing in his notepads.
“I saw that my talent could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against false politics, against all sorts of social wrongs, I knew at that point I had to be an artist,” says Wilson.