Barbara Bullock: Fearless Vision at Woodmere Art MuseumOct 16, 2023 10:00AM ● By Karen Warrington
Walking into Woodmere Art Museum’s two-story expansive gallery showcasing a retrospective exhibition of born and bred Philadelphia artist Barbara Bullock, the viewer is immediately immersed in the bold colors of paper sculpture; the movement and power of enmeshed Black bodies; and, the reverence for unseen energy. The exhibition, Barbara Bullock: Fearless Vision, represents 60 years of just that - fearlessness and otherworldly vision.
For me the exhibition is a reflection of Bullock’s journey as an artist through the turbulent political time of the 60s, the reconnection to the breadth of the African Diaspora, the entanglement of sexual freedom and a reach for the energy of unseen protections. The exhibition influences seekers to recapture darting flashes of energy tucked away in their consciousness and to reach beyond cultural borders.
Barbara Bullock, the artist, is diminutive. And, her aging five foot frame, hazel eyes and graying dreads belies the power of her willingness to claw, bend and co-mingle pigment, texture and time to reveal hidden messages of struggle, love and memory.
Woodmere’s CEO, William Valerio, Ph.D, says, “An aspect of Bullock’s studio practice going back to the1960’s and central to the thesis of this exhibition is the power of art as a force of active social change that shapes people’s lives.”
The exhibition showcases Bullock’s decades as an arts activist and an arts educator. For nearly a lifetime she has exposed students young and old to the wonder of the arts and their own latent and untapped abilities to venture far beyond the boundaries of the European palette. As director of the art department at the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center she and her equally dedicated staff offered the healing medicine of art to an ailing and overlooked community.
Quietly seated on a bench in the midst of the opening Barbara Bullock demurely smiled as she greeted admirers. But, the artist already seemed to be drifting off anxious to meet her next encounter with artistic metaphysical creation and re-creation in her beloved studio.
The exhibit of this pioneering art icon includes approximately 70 works and will be on view through Jan. 21, 2024.
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Karen Warrington has had a decades long career as a broadcast journalist, communications professional, performing artist, and documentary filmmaker. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. She is committed to being a voice for the African Diaspora.
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