1. Arthur Negro II

As with most sustained bodies or work, the golf-inspired theme happened quite by accident. The subject matter began showing up in my work after I picked up the game – it really was as simple as that. I saw the action of playing golf as creative, like “drawing” and composing space on the earth, like one might compose space on canvas or in a drawing. Shortly afterwards I began using golf objects as metaphors for a larger discussion of racism and identity.  While I explored my own fascination with golf, I started to merge this passion with a more conceptual understanding of found object, the recycling of obscure Internet imagery, the Internet as “palette”, ethnicity, identity and socio-political dialogue.

Over the last decade I began seeing the golf bag as “found canvas”, as metaphor, as vessel and as the human form; I saw its potential as both object and subject.

Using the process of collage and “found digital imagery” I changed the identity of the bag while maintaining (or in some cases, reestablishing) its relationship to race and social differences. In the end, I want to create an object that is at first beautiful then thought provoking.

The two quintessential pieces from this body of work are, Arthur Negro I & II. Both are photo realistic, life-sized self-portraits. They represent my defining answer to the notion of Black Art, hence the name Arthur Negro. -Charles Alexander McGill

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Charles McGill is an artist who has been working professionally for over 20 years. Born in Binghamton, NY, he began his training at Keystone Junior College in La Plume, PA where he earned an Associates of Fine Arts and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1984. Two years later he received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  In 1987 he attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine.

After earning a Masters of Fine Art in 1989 from The Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow, he went on to work in the admissions office as an admissions counselor and recruiter for the school.  It was at MICA that he began teaching drawing and painting in the foundation department in addition to working with area high school students over the summer months in intensive drawing workshops.

After relocating to New York he was recruited by The School of Visual Arts to work in the admissions office where he advised prospective students, visited area and national high school art department and attended national portfolio days.  He also taught painting and drawing in addition to running and designing the curriculum for the summer Portfolio Preparation courses to advanced area high school students.

In 1994 he wrote an essay entitled The Wizard of Oz: A Journey of Practical Spirituality. A course description followed along with a syllabus and shortly thereafter he taught the class at The New School for Social Research.

Writing has always been an important part of Mr. McGill creative development he sees his writing much the same way he views the art he makes – it’s all part of the creative process always leads somewhere positive.

Trained formally as a painter Charles McGill has evolved into a multi-disciplinary artist. His current body of work which he refers to as, The Artifacts from the Former Black Militant Golf and Country Club, incorporates found object, graphic design, performance, essay, photography, appropriation, digital arts and collage into creating an array of golf and race-related objects infused with satire and social politics.

In 2009 he was selected as a New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellow in crafts and was awarded a $7,000 grant. In early 2009 he was selected as an Artist in Residence at The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC. In 2007 he was a recipient of an Art Matters Grant and traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to complete the performance-based photo-documentation of Arthur Negro: From Harlem to Hanoi.

Since his first solo NY exhibition in 1999 his work has been exhibited at The Bridge Art Fair in Miami, The Wadsworth Museum in Hartford, CT and various other gallery venues.  His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The International Review of African-American Art and Art in America.

Mr. McGill has served as visiting artist to many institutions including New York University, City College of New York, Virginia Tech University, Purchase College and the Wadsworth Museum in Hartford, CT, Queens College, Alfred University and Parsons School of Art and Design in NYC among others.

His professional exhibition record includes solo and group shows at several galleries and museums including the “The Painted Portrait” Group Exhibition at Barnarducci-Meisel Gallery, in NYC, The 2008 Westchester Biennial, “For the Love of the Game: Race and Sport in African-American Art” Group exhibition The Wadsworth Museum, “Art and Architecture Group” Exhibition Albright Knox Museum and Club Negro: Solo Show at The Barbara Ann Levy Gallery in NYC.

As an illustrator Mr. McGill’s work can be found in the 2005 book called The Six-Spoke Approach to Better Golf, by PGA Golf Teaching Professional Tom Patri. He contributed 30 pencil drawings to the project and shares credit on the project with such esteemed names as PGA Tour professional Fred Couples and NBC Sports Commentator Jimmy Roberts.

His work has been reviewed and featured in several publications including the New York Times, The African-American Review of Fine Arts, Art in America and HZ-Journal. Many of these reviews can be found on-line.

In 2005 the owner of The Bridge Country Club in Bridgehampton, NY commissioned one of Mr. McGill’s most controversial pieces. Arthur Negro – Head of The Former Black Militant Golf and Country Club, a life-sized likeness of the artist, is displayed for members and visitors alike in The Bridge Pro-Shop.

After spending several years working in his studio on his current body of work he was hired as Gallery Director at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY.

He has brought a very rich experience in the arts as a guide in this new endeavor.  Working in conjunction with the studio art department faculty, he foresees a very abundant future for the new Manhattanville College Gallery of Fine Art.

His first major contribution to the gallery was the works of 20th Century Master Alberto Giacometti as seen through the camera lens of famed American photographer Herbert Matter. This was a major addition to the Manhattanville community. In addition, he co-curated the June 2009 exhibition of Frank Lloyd Wright “Usonia/Broadacre City; The Ideal Community” a collection of photos, blue prints and architectural renderings of some of the artists most revered works.

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