“Sunday Evening Football” by Kennith Humphrey. Photo by: Courtesy image
September 28, 2013 10:18:16 PM
In his lifetime, artist Kennith Humphrey has lived in many places and had numerous jobs. He has been a carpenter, a shingler, a landscaper and electronic technician. He served a stint in the Coast Guard and he's known hard times and good. Through it all, he harbored a passion for drawing that has been with him since his early years growing up in Vicksburg.
Now, Humphrey's work has been acquired by collectors like director Spike Lee, actress Debbie Allen and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher. His bold, vibrant paintings have been commissioned by the USA International Ballet Competition, the Vicksburg National Military Park, the American Heart Association of Georgia and the Association of Physicians of Mississippi. He's had successful gallery showings in cities from San Francisco to Anchorage, Alaska. Several of his works even hang in the American Embassy in Portugal.
During October, Humphrey's vivid art will be on display in Columbus, in a exhibit titled "Vibrations of Color" at the Columbus Arts Council's Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. The public is invited to an opening reception Thursday, Oct. 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
"Kennith is the kind of artist who remains true to what he sees," said Frances Hairston, CAC gallery committee liaison with the Mississippi painter. "He paints from memory of things from his childhood."
Many of Humphrey's canvases depict African-American figures going about daily life -- working, loving, playing music and simply living. The people he recreates with his brushes are stylized, sometimes cubist.
"I don't call them paintings. I call them sketches because they capture a fleeting moment," Humphrey has said. "My art is not realism, not finite, not exact. It is an escape from realism, an interpretation of the moment. ... It's my quick interpretation, like the click of a camera with brush and paint."
The free-flowing rhythm of Humphrey's characters and scenes has steadily acquired a national and international following for the self-taught painter inspired by his late half-brother, William Tolliver, a successful artist.
Hairston remarked, "We are so pleased to be able to show Mr. Humphrey's unique art in the Golden Triangle; it's going to be a real treat to be able to see his dynamic canvases in person."
Also through October, visit Artist Alley in the Rosenzweig Arts Center to see "Hands in Action," the work of West Lowndes Elementary art students of Katie McDill.
For more information on current and future Columbus Arts Council events or classes, visit columbus-arts.org or call 662-328-2787.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.