The University of Maine at Presque Isle's Reed Fine Art Gallery will present A Heavy Grace by Portland artist, Daniel Minter, from March 17 through April 19, 2014. The public is invited to view the exhibition throughout the show's run and attend the Opening Reception on March 7 from 5-7 p.m., which is being held in conjunction with the Presque Isle First Friday Art Walk.
Daniel Minter is a painter and mixed media artist. He is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta in Georgia. After spending many years as an illustrator and graphic designer, Minter began painting. He reflected on his heritage and invented his new occupation of "cultural interpreter." Minter comments: "My responsibility is to interpret what goes on in everyday life in my community, especially the unusual, the extraordinary."
Minter calls on African, West Indian, and Afro-Latin American culture and religious life as influences in his work, thus broadening the visual vocabulary of African American art. He places strong influence on Xanga and Ogum in Ellaville, Georgia. Art Historian Rachel E. Harding defines Xango and Ogum as "Yoruba deities venerated in parts of the Afro-Atlantic world, particularly Nigeria, Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Trinidad."
The upcoming exhibition in the Reed Gallery will feature a collection of Minter's paintings, wood relief prints, and mixed media works on brooms and curling irons. "'A Heavy Grace' is an exciting collection of work into the world of Daniel Minter," Gallery Director Heather Sincavage remarks. "Not only do we see his mastery of painting and printmaking, we see how an artist involves everyday found objects as a player in storytelling."
In a feature article in Port City Life, Minter was quoted saying, "Artists are an integral part of the community. They should be helping folks, healing folks, showing them their mistakes and showing them the way." Minter does just that in his Portland community. He is the founding director and vice-president of Maine Freedom Trails, Inc. He created the markers for the Portland Freedom Trail, which, according to Minter's website, "identifies significant sites related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Portland, Maine." Minter has also created the United States Postal Service 2004 and 2011 Kwanzaa stamp.
Minter has received national recognition for his work in children's literature; he has illustrated nine children's books. Ellen's Broom, which was written by Kelly Starling and illustrated by Minter, won the 2013 Coretta Scott King honor for illustration. His illustrations in the book, Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, written by Angela Shelf Medearis, won the Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. The Riches of Oseola McCarty, which he illustrated and Evelyn Coleman wrote, was also named an honor book by the Carter G. Woodson Awards.
In addition to its First Friday reception on March 7, A Heavy Grace will be open for the First Friday Art Walk on April 4 from 5-7 p.m. At the time of this release, arrangements with Minter are still in the planning stages for his visit to the County. Please check the Reed Gallery Facebook page for updates (www.facebook.com/ReedArtGallery). The public is encouraged to come out to First Friday and attend this free event. Light refreshments will be served.