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Artist Talk with Melvin Edwards
October 11, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree and open to the public
21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City is thrilled to welcome artist Melvin Edwards for a discussion of his body of work in conjunction with his upcoming exhibition opening on October 20th at Oklahoma Contemporary. A pioneer in the history of contemporary African-American art and sculpture, Edwards is returning to Oklahoma with his first solo exhibition in the state in the last 25 years.
> Learn more about the exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary
About the artist
Edwards is known for his creation of powerful abstract sculptures from common materials, including scrap iron and barbed wire. This exhibition presents an unprecedented opportunity: More than half of the works will be created just for Oklahoma Contemporary from materials he gathers here. His artwork is often strongly impacted by place, and this entirely new “Oklahoma Series” will be displayed next to a group of works that he produced in Africa over the past 20 years. As different as the two regions are, Edwards senses a connection in the strong ties to the land, a history of metalwork, as well as the energy devoted to new construction.
Over the past 50 years, Edwards’ work has been complex and multilayered. His welded sculptures are abstract, though his materials and the titles move the works into the realm of the narrative. Originally from Houston, Edwards emerged onto the art scene in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. He became well known for hisLynch Fragments series, begun in 1963 and continuing through today, in which objects such as chains, tools and steel scraps are welded into compact, evocative forms. In 1970, he became the first African American sculptor to have
a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. That exhibition showed, like Lynch Fragments, his interest in working within and against the boundaries of abstraction and minimalism, using materials with immense cultural and personal resonance, particularly in the context of the African-American experience.
Edwards has had a long and successful career, with works in major collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Chicago Art Institute; and the Dallas Museum of Art. After a recent touring retrospective by the Nasher Museum in Dallas he has been propelled back into the limelight. We are delighted to host an exhibition by such an important, internationally renowned artist.