Inside Rensselaer
Shelnutt Gallery To Host Art Exhibit and Percussion  Concert for Black History Month
* Shelnutt Gallery To Host Art Exhibit and Percussion Concert for Black History Month

Shelnutt Gallery To Host Art Exhibit and Percussion Concert for Black History Month

*
The Shelnutt Gallery will showcase the works of artist Femi J. Johnson for Black History Month. An opening reception on Feb. 19 will feature Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life, and his group Ensemble Congeros beginning at 7 p.m..
*
The Shelnutt Gallery, located in the Rensselaer Union, will host a two-month long exhibit featuring the works of artist Femi J. Johnson. The body of work to be shown, created from 2006 to present, portrays Johnson’s roots as an African American born in Manhattan, N.Y., and growing up in the small town of Easton, Pa.

A special artist’s reception is planned for Feb. 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. During the reception, an informal percussion concert featuring Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life, and his group Ensemble Congeros, a group of Rensselaer alumni and students dedicated to the study of Afro-Cuban, African, and New World percussion, will begin at 7 p.m.

It has become an annual tradition for Knowles and his group to perform at the gallery in honor of Black History Month. Knowles is also an accomplished musician with over 40 years of performance, residency, workshop, and recording credits as a percussionist with a focus on African and Afro-Cuban music and dance. And this year it is even more meaningful because his close friend is the exhibiting artist. “The opportunity to offer praise at the opening of Baba Oba Femi’s exhibit is exhilarating!” said Knowles.

Johnson’s medium is collage. In speaking about his work, he expressed that he envisions the world, the universe, and his existence within as collaged experiences. “Layers and fragments from childhood to adulthood, formal and self-education, adding personal and media-influenced world view with spiritual and practical human gestures — all floating inside, looking for position.”

“Our neighborhood was communal and ethnic and the schools diverse and tense,” Johnson added. “I began drawing at a young age and took as much art as possible early in school until leaving college to support a family. Much of the art was pure imagination matched by the reality of conscious daily life in the neighborhood. Starting from what I know of who I am, it’s about searching for my truth mainly within the ethnic domain. I believe that through ethnic and national differences are born the variety of artistic expressions.”

“My influences are quite varied — from the drawings of Charles White, to the patterns of John Biggers and the career of Romare Bearden,” Johnson said. “I always loved Cezanne’s palette, using color to create volume, also the evolution of Dada and surreal artists. The results are my view through a fractured personal prism, injecting into each piece a modulated melody and lyric. I seek to be an open channel to modernity making sense to raw emotion within family and community at large. Also, for me, listening to a lot of jazz and R & B helps the energy flow.”
* * *
*
*
Send comments to:
Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
1000 Troy Building, 110 Eighth Street, Troy, N.Y. 12180 or to leibat@rpi.edu.
*
Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 2, February 13, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Front Page
*
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | About RPI | Virtual Campus Tour | Academics | Research | Student Life | Admissions | News & Events