Image: Bill Traylor, Man, Woman, ca. 1940-1942, Watercolor and graphite on cardboard. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Gift of Charles and Eugenia Shannon.

On View

Feb 9 - May 12, 2013

Curated By

Susan Mitchell Crawley, Margaret Lynne Ausfeld

Bill Traylor (1854-1949) is one of the best-known and most highly esteemed artists from the American south. A self-taught artist from Montgomery, Alabama, Traylor’s depictions of life in rural and urban Alabama have made him one of the most acclaimed artists of the twentieth century. Beginning when he was in his early eighties, in a prolific decade of art making, Traylor produced more than 1,200 drawings in graphite, colored pencil, poster paints and crayon. Many of his works were created on shirt cardboard, cast-off signs and other shaped supports, whose unusual forms often influenced his designs. Traylor used these materials to create geometrically based representations of human and animal figures, often combining them in complex compositions that included abstracted buildings or “constructions.” The exhibition will feature over 60 rarely seen drawings from the two largest public collections of his work, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

In correlation with this exhibition, the museum hosted: “Walking in the Shadows of Bill Traylor,” a theatrical performance in collaboration with Vagabond Theatre Project and Cygnet Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, join us for a theatrical performance by one of the production’s featured actors, Antonio TJ Johnson. Johnson’s series, Walking in the Shadows, focuses on the lives of famous African American pioneers, with this particular performance focused on the life and work of artist and former slave, Bill Traylor. A half-day symposium called “Unlocking Bill Traylor’s Montgomery” on May 4, 2013 Collard Greens and Southern Blues, an evening of live African American music (Early Evening @ Mingei), swing-dancing, and southern food, on March 28, 2013. 3 dance classes in March under the name “The Roots of Swing”: March 7 – Pre-swing: The Cake Walk and the Charleston March 14 – Swing: The Lindy Hop and the Big Apple March 21 – Post-swing: Chicago Steppin and Soul Line Dancing