On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
 

A RENOWNED SCHOLAR of African American art, David Driskell (1931-2020) had a deep interest in African Art, which he was introduced to when he was a student at Howard University. More than a dozen years later, in 1969-70 and 1972, when he was a professor of art and chair of the art department at Fisk University, Driskell traveled for the first time to the continent, visiting West Africa. The experience was transformative and greatly influenced his artistic practice in the decades to come. The African mask, its lines, form, and symbolism, became a central conceit across his body of work, showing up in his explorations of nature, the divine, ancestry, and self-portraiture. Closing this weekend, “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks” at DC Moore Gallery in New York presents nearly 30 works—paintings, collage, works on paper, and prints—dating from 1965 to 2014. CT

 

“David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks” is on view at DC Moore Gallery in New York, N.Y., from Feb. 17-March 26, 2022

FIND MORE about the exhibition and accompanying catalog

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Mystery of the Masks,” 2005 (collage and acrylic on paper, 29 1/2 x 21 5/8 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 

“In recent years, I have turned my attention to images that reflect the exciting expression that is based in the iconography of African art. In so doing, I am not attempting to create African art. Instead, I am interested in keeping alive some of the potent symbols that have significant meaning for me as a person of African descent.” — David Driskell, “Recent Work of David Driskell: Paintings and Prints” (1973)

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “I Want Two Wings,” 1973 (collage, gouache and pencil on paper mounted to board, 9 3/8 x 7 3/8 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Adam and Eve in the Garden (Study),” 2005 (mixed media and cray-pas on paper, 26 x 19 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 

“…the mask is not only an intriguing formal model, but represents [David Driskell’s] own ancestors, both African and American, ever present in his memory.” — Adrienne Childs, “Evolution: Five Decades of Printmaking by David Driskell” (2007)

 


Installation view of “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks,” DC Moore Gallery, New York, N.Y. (Feb. 17-March 26, 2022). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Benin Woman,” AP, 1972 (color woodcut, 15 1/4 x 11 3/8 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Figure in Moonlight,” 2000 (collage and acrylic on paper, 8 x 6 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “A Mysterious Visit,” 2004 (collage, gouache and acrylic on paper, 9 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Self Portrait,” 2003-2004 (acrylic on paper, 29 3/4 x 22 1/4 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 

“As a genre, self-portraiture interested Driskell from his earliest days as a student at Howard University. Many self portraits are intimate studies of his mood, changing phsyiognomy and hairstyles, others intertwine his face with an African mask. The introspective, youthful ego that appears in “Self-Portrait” (2003-04) was painted by the artist when he was seventy-two. Perhaps self-portraiture provided another means for connecting wtih ancestors: he surely envisaged them in his countenance.” — Julie L. McGee, “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks” (2022)

 


Installation view of “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks,” DC Moore Gallery, New York, N.Y. (Feb. 17-March 26, 2022). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Night Garden (Forest Dream),” 2012 (collage and acrylic on paper, 22 x 17 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Self-Portrait in Brown Hat,” 1987 (gouache on paper, 11 x 7 1/2 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Self-Portrait,” circa 2000 (charcoal on paper, 6 1/4 x 6 3/8 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, Faces in the Forest, 2004 (collage and acrylic on paper, 14 x 11 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Palm Sunday,” 2011 (collage and acrylic on fiberboard, 24 x 20 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 

“Invited by the Studio Museum in Harlem to participate in The Bearden Project, Driskell turned to allegory, Christian scripture, and a respected subject for artists: Palm Sunday. The collage he made in honor of Bearden (1911-1988), Palm Sunday (2011), is quintessential Driskell. He deployed his finely tuned aesthetic and personal iconography to pay homeage to a fellow artist, North Carolinian, friend, and mentor. This was no small task, Driskell engaged college to represent significant aspects of Bearden’s life and ancestry, factually and metaphorically.” — Julie L. McGee, “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks” (2022)

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “The Seer,” 2005 (collage and gouache on paper, 30 x 22 1/2 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


DAVID DRISKELL, “Mask Man,” 1965 (tempera and pencil on paper, 6 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 


Installation view of “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks,” DC Moore Gallery, New York, N.Y. (Feb. 17-March 26, 2022). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 

TOP IMAGE: Installation view of “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks,” DC Moore Gallery, New York, N.Y. (Feb. 17-March 26, 2022). | © Estate of David Driskell, Courtesy the estate and DC Moore Gallery

 

BOOKSHELF
Published to accompany the current exhibition at DC Moore Gallery, the catalog “David Driskell: Mystery of the Masks” features an essay by Julie L. McGee. “David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History” coincides with the exhibition of the same name, the largest solo museum exhibition of the artist’s career. “David C. Driskell: Artist and Scholar” by Julie McGee documents the life and work of David C. Driskell. “Two Centuries of Black American Art” accompanied the landmark exhibition guest curated by Driskell in 1976 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Driskell co-authored the exhibition catalog “Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America.” These volumes consider David Driskell’s artistic practice: “Creative Spirit: The Art of David C. Driskell,” “David Driskell Painting Across the Decade 1996-2006,” and “Evolution: Five Decades of Printmaking by David C. Driskell” by Adrienne Childs with contributions by Ruth Fine, Deborah Willis, and Julie McGee. Driskell documents his own art collection in “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection.”

 

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