University Place Gallery to host mixed-media exhibit
University Place Gallery, FMU’s art gallery in downtown Florence, will host an evocative exhibit from a bevy of acclaimed African-American artists beginning in November. Titled “Beauty + Strength,” the exhibit will run through Dec. 17 and focuses on portrait and figure paintings, drawings, and mixed media works from artists Ija Charles, Sharika Hooks, J. Renee, Adrian Smith and Maya Smith. The works included in the exhibition present striking and evocative images that illustrate their contemporary experiences as African American women. Each of the women in this artistically diverse group speaks powerfully and beautifully through their individual voices and distinct creative modes. Charles’ work functions as the voice of a younger generation, as she focuses on painting vibrant images in a narrative expressing community, hope, and change. Mixed media artist Sharika Hooks explores portrait and self-portrait through humorous works which include textural, photographic, and abstracted imagery. Featuring portraits constructed with found objects fused with paintings, Renee attempts to weave stories from the past into the present by fusing painted portraits with found objects. Adrian Smith utilizes delicate dreamlike watercolor layers to create intimate and honest portraits that often conjure political and social commentary. Maya Smith illustrates the power of the figure and portrait through her use of saturated colors and meticulously rendered value compositions. University Place Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.