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African American artisans exhibit at CFAC

January 21, 2009

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MacDonaldThrough March 7, the Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) will exhibit the work of three artists whose works were featured on HGTV's "Modern Masters: African American Artisans" program in 2003: Espi Frazier, Hermon Futrell and David MacDonald. These artists are at the forefront of contemporary crafts and reflect the diverse and innovative palette of today's artists.

CFAC will host a reception and panel discussion with the artists on Saturday, Feb. 7, from 2-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Espi Frazier
With each deliberate stroke, Frazier releases from her wooden canvas graceful female forms. Her mahogany figures reside amongst deftly carved undulating vines, flowers or roots. Each panel invites the viewer into a discourse about femininity, beauty and nature. Frazier states: "Every piece of art that I create expresses me wholly as an African American woman. I wish to convey black womanhood and family in its greater beauty, spirituality and raw essence."

Frazier holds B.F.A. from the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.F.A. from the Maryland College of Art. She has exhibited her work widely on the East Coast and in the Midwest, including exhibitions at the Washington Project and the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, both in Washington, D.C.

Frazier teaches art at the Friends Middle School in Baltimore.

Hermon Futrell
Futrell coaxes spare willow limbs into organic furniture pieces that reveal a hint of the artist's early architectural training. Each Adirondack rustic throne announces its presence in the space with brightly painted surfaces of green, red or yellow. Those left bare without the added veneer draw the viewer in to observe the craftsmanship. All of the furniture joints are resolved to their purpose and scoff at the need for screw, nail or hammer. It is the natural, simple and functional that are most earnestly celebrated in these works.

Futrell immersed himself in architectural and industrial design studies in his formative years, studying at City College in New York and the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit. His painting, sculptures and art furniture are represented in private and corporate collections throughout the United States.

David MacDonald
MacDonald, professor emeritus in SU's College of Visual and Performing Arts, is one of this country's most highly regarded African American ceramic artists. MacDonald creates a wide variety of work, including vessels for daily use and one-of-a-kind pieces for exhibition. His earth-tone vessels bear rhythmic valleys, which pay homage to the surface decorations that are found in the work of many cultural groups of sub- Saharan Africa.

MacDonald holds a B.S. degree from Virginia's Hampton Institute and an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan. He is a founder and board member of CFAC. His work is represented in many private and public collections throughout the United States.

The Community Folk Art Center is a unit of the Department of African American Studies in SU's College of Arts and Sciences. CFAC is a vibrant cultural and artistic hub committed to the promotion and development of artists of the African Diaspora. The mission of the center is to exalt cultural and artistic pluralism by collecting, exhibiting, teaching and interpreting the visual and expressive arts.

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