Jamel Robinson

Teaching Artist-in-Residence, Fall 2021

During the course of his residency, Jamel Robinson’s work and resulting initiatives will reflect, support, and enrich the themes of African American Art in the 20th Century (October 15, 2021–January 16, 2022), as well as the mediums on view as he designs, teaches, and implements participatory learning experiences for diverse audiences of all ages.

Jamel Robinson has been selected as the Teaching Artist-In-Residence for Fall 2021 based on the nature, quality, and scope of his work and practice, to correspond to the special museum exhibition, African American Art in the 20th Century. His work and resulting initiatives will reflect, support, and enrich the themes of the exhibition, as well as the mediums on view as he designs, teaches, and implements participatory learning experiences for diverse audiences of all ages. He states, “Personally, I want to present a body of work that will inspire a variety of audiences to create in reaction to my work and to life itself . . . I want audiences to look into their own ash and find the audacity to create something beautiful against those odds.”

Jamel Robinson is a painter, sculptor, writer, and performance artist. Robinson began his artistic journey as a poet and taught himself to paint to further his range of expression. Over the past ten years, he has evolved an individual style of abstraction, and in 2018, he began applying the paint directly with his hands and manipulating it with squeegees. Working predominantly on the floor, in a bent position of surrender, the paintings are a way he has processed personal struggles, but are also an area of openness and discovery. The process is physical. While the majority of works in this series are abstract, it’s impossible to ignore the presence of the body, his body, and the intended viewer.

Jamel Robinson was born in Harlem, New York, where he still lives and works. He has been featured in several solo gallery exhibitions, most recently at the Established Gallery and the Ivy Brown Gallery in New York and the Gallery Von Schmordenfaden in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2018, his work was featured in 100 Works, curated by Derrick Adams, Oshun Layne, Larry Ossei-Mensah, Teriha Yaegashi, Stephanie Cunningham, Gabriel de Guzman, and Becky Elmquist and presented by ARTNOIR, LatchKey Gallery, and E+. His work is currently on view in a group exhibition at The Meeting Point, a pop-up gallery curated by Danny Baez in collaboration with ARTNOIR, REGULARNORMAL, and The Meatpacking District. His work will also be included in The Eyes Have It at the Lehman College Art Gallery from August 31–November 13, 2021.

Robinson conceived Beauty from Ashes in response to the masterpieces from the Smithsonian American Art Museum that will be on view in African American Art in the 20th Century. For Robinson, the concept of beauty emerging from ashes “holds true to the Black Experience with the historical and present day ashes served to us in America, to my personal experience of navigating life’s challenges, and to the extended universal view of everyone’s ability to use circumstance as a platform of expression.”

 

The Fall 2021 Artist-in-Residence Program is generously supported by Marjorie Hollingsworth Mitchell in memory of Alvin C. Hollingsworth.

 

Public Workshops

Poetry Reading and Responsive Writing
Sunday, October 24, 1–3pm
Join Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson in the galleries for a reading of his poem HOME, followed by a creative writing workshop in which he guides participants to create their own poems in response to chosen works in African American Art in the 20th Century. Robinson is a painter, sculptor, writer, and performance artist who began his artistic journey as a poet and taught himself to paint to further his range of expression. Recommended for ages 14+.

Landscape Looking and Making Series
Sunday, November 21, 1–3pm
Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson leads a program that links African American Art in the 20th Century and Landscape Art & Virtual Travel through the sensibility and practice of contemporary African American artists. Join Robinson for an interactive tour of the works on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and for a conversation sparked by the comparison and contrast of two landscapes, one in each exhibition. Then, the artist will lead a workshop to create a drawn and painted landscape inspired by close looking and discussion. You’ll also have the opportunity to contribute elements to a collaborative work-in-progress inspired by the theme of his exhibition Beauty from Ashes. Recommended for ages 14+.

Multisensory Music, Movement, and Sculpture
Sunday, December 12, 1–3pm
Enjoy a musical performance in the galleries by Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson, inspired by the works on view in African American Art in the 20th Century. In the workshop, explore the emotions elicited by hearing the music in the context of the artworks. How would you move in response? Robinson will guide you in translating these visceral reactions into a sculptural response modeled in clay.

Studio Tour and Demonstration (Virtual)
Wednesday, January 12, 7pm
Take a rare peek behind the scenes at the studio of Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson and learn about his multi-layered practice. Following a tour of multimedia work created over the course of his career and the stories behind them, Robinson will demonstrate his artistic process in a work-in-progress. Followed by Q&A with the artist.

Family Studio: Art Workshops
Explore the artwork of Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson in these creative hands-on activities for families, ideal for children ages 5–10, facilitated by Junior Docents every weekend from 1–4pm in the Joyce Greene Education Center.

Beauty Dream
October 2021 & January 2022
Experiment with abstraction in this hands-on workshop: draw one of your dreams in black, then cover it with squares layered in bright and vibrant paint colors. Designed by Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson. Recommended for ages 5–10.

Shapes of Imagination
November 2021
Experiment with sculpture: what are the shapes of your dreams? What is the texture of your most vivid dream, either a happy one, or a nightmare?! Create a miniature sculpture out of clay. Explore ways to capture the textures and shapes you like most in the clay—by rolling it, poking it, and scratching it with a pencil. Designed by Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson. Recommended for ages 5–10.

Silhouette in Black
December 2021
Explore the artwork of Teaching Artist-in-Residence Jamel Robinson. In photo negatives, positive space is light and negative space is dark, the reverse of real life. Through performance, capture the “negative” of your face by posing in front of a light, making a reflected silhouette on the wall, and coloring it black. Then, bring it to life by covering it with layers of light colors.

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Photo: Alex Bershaw @alexbershaw