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Hudson River Museum presents Winfred Rembert. Amazing Grace

The Hudson River Museum presents Winfred Rembert. Amazing Grace an exhibition on view January 21 – May 6, 2012.

Winfred Rembert, Cotton Field Rows, 2009 Dye on carved and tooled leather 38 ½ x 30 ½ inches Courtesy of the Adelson Galleries

Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace, the first major museum exhibition dedicated to this remarkable mid-career, self-taught artist, shows the dramatic, biographical nature of Rembert’s art as it documents the tumultuous moments of civil rights history. More than 50 original works that Rembert created from stretched, stained, and etched leather, historical photographs of his life, and a new documentary of his work, created by noted filmmaker Vivian Ducat, will be on view. In the galleries, traditional gospel music, pivotal for Rembert, will be heard in recordings, and Rembert will both sing gospel songs and discuss his experiences in the galleries on several dates.

Rembert, a boy growing up in 1950s rural Georgia, did backbreaking labor in the cotton fields. A young man, he barely escaped arrest during a 1960’s civil rights march, and survived a near lynching. A prisoner serving an unjust seven-year sentence, he learned to make pattern and design on hand tooled leather by watching a fellow inmate create tooled leather wallets. Years later in colorful tableaux on tanned leather, Rembert conjured a world of incredible brutality and close personal ties existing in discomforting proximity

Amazing Grace’s riveting themes include the Cotton Field series, where cotton balls snake relentlessly through rows where field hands toiled. Rembert notes, “curved [cotton] rows make a beautiful pattern. But as soon as you start picking, you forget how good it looks and think how hard it is. There just isn’t anything you can say about cotton that is good.” Another theme explores the lighter side of Rembert’s memories of small town Cuthbert, Georgia. He populates his canvases with the town’s characters and scenes of a pool hall, jazz club, café, and church meetings.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, which will include essays by Bartholomew Bland, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Hudson River Museum and Roger Panetta, the museum’s Adjunct Curator of History and History Professor, Fordham University. Rembert’s work is currently the subject of a dissertation by Fordham University Ph.D. candidate Clifton Watson, and the catalogue will include an essay co-authored by Watson and Irma Watkins-Owens, Associate Professor, African and African American Studies, Fordham University.

This exhibition is organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated by Bartholomew F. Bland.

Hudson River Museum
511 Warburton Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10701

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