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Open Air: An Artist Talk with Antoine Williams and David Wilson

  • About This Program

    The first Open Air program of 2022 is the final Open Air that celebrates featured artists of the Gantt Center's first biennial Visual Vanguard: An Exhibition of Black Carolina Artists. Dexter Wimberly will interview mixed-media artist Antoine Williams and the exhibition's co-curator, David Wilson. This conversation will include topics such as the influence of science fiction on Williams' expression, the journey of curating for Visual Vanguard, and the many ways this exhibition reflects contemporary Black life and themes.

    How To Participate

    This free virtual program will be streamed on the Gantt Center's official YouTube channel.

    Gantt Center's YouTube channel

    About Open Air

    Open Air is a monthly series of virtual studio visits and intimate conversations with Black artists across the United States. Historically, African-American artists have been compelled to make their own way within the art world, challenging traditional ideas of cultural representation and creating their own systems of merit, criticality and reward outside of the mainstream. Join us as we get a behind-the-scenes look at exciting new art as it's being created, while connecting the makers' works to some of the most pressing issues of our times.

  • About The Artist & Co-Curator

    Antoine Williams' mixed-media work investigates his cultural identity by exploring power, fear and the perception of signs within society. Heavily influenced by science fiction, and his rural, working-class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina, Antoine has created his own mythology about the complexities of contemporary Black life. An artist-educator, Antoine received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and his MFA from UNC-Chapel Hill. He helped start the God City Art Collective in Charlotte, where he participated in a number of socially engaged, community-based art projects, such as pop-up art shows, afterschool art programs, underground rap shows, and film festivals. He has exhibited in a number of places, including at the Mint Museum of Art, Michigan State University, Columbia Museum of Art, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, 21c Museum, as well as many other venues. He is also a recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Award of Painters and Sculptors. Williams is an assistant professor of art at Guilford College.

    Born and raised in West Virginia, David Wilson currently resides in North Carolina and has had a strong interest in the arts since early childhood. Throughout his early training, Wilson maintained sufficient artistic focus to investigate African American artists of the past. He spent many hours after school delving into the county library’s stacks on the Harlem Renaissance and Mexican Muralists. There he found artists such as Charles White, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Diego Rivera and Jacob Lawrence – these masters would open Wilson’s eyes to a whole new level of black creativity. This newfound passion carried him to Hampton University where he was afforded the valuable opportunity to study under prolific artist/muralist, John Biggers. Under Biggers, Wilson discovered a deeper connection with his rich black art heritage and began developing a new way of expressing his experiences as a black artist. His work took on bolder, brighter colors and a greater emphasis on the human form was evident. His use of line became more fluid as he pulled on his own personal experiences with family, music and culture to create magnificent expressions of the soul experience.

    Since obtaining his degree from Hampton, Wilson has exhibited at notable galleries and venues in Atlanta, New York and Washington, DC. He was contracted by ESSENCE magazine to reproduce limited edition reproductions of his original works and invited by the US Army to serve as Artist in Residence in Germany during a Black History Month observance. In addition to his fine art and educational achievements, Wilson has gained attention as a public artist, creating several murals throughout the state. His crowning achievement is "Divergent Threads, Lucent Memories," a 500 square foot glass mural for the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture in Charlotte.

    Wilson's works rest in the notable private and celebrity collections of Actors, Ossie Davis and Hill Harper, Actresses Ruby Dee, Phylicia Rashaad and Debbie Allen, as well as sports icons, Baron Davis (Los Angeles Clippers) and ESPN anchor, Stuart Scott.

  • About The Host

    Dexter Wimberly is an independent curator and entrepreneur who has organized exhibitions and developed programs with galleries and institutions throughout the world including The Third Line in Dubai; Contemporary Art Museum CAM Raleigh in North Carolina; The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco; Koki Arts in Tokyo; and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. His exhibitions have been reviewed and featured in publications including The New York Times, Artforum, and Hyperallergic; and have received support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Wimberly has also served as Director of Strategic Planning at Independent Curators International in New York City.

    Prior to his curatorial career, Wimberly was the managing partner and CEO of the advertising agency, August Bishop, representing a diverse array of clients, including Adidas, The Coca-Cola Company and, HBO. Wimberly is a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art. He is also the founder of ART WORLD CONFERENCE, a business and financial literacy conference for visual artists. He and ART WORLD CONFERENCE co-organizer, Heather Bhandari were recently listed in the Observer's "Arts Power 50: Changemakers Shaping the Art World in 2019.”

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