Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Beverly McIver. This will be McIver’s second exhibition at the gallery. The artist will be present for the opening reception. on Thursday, June 27, 2013; the exhibition will be on view through Friday, August 9, 2013.
As a child I had dreamed of becoming a clown to escape my black skin, poverty and the housing project I once called home. Clowning was my disguise, my liberation. -McIver in 2002
McIver’s paintings are a voyage in self-revelation from her earlier self portraits in white face (the clown) to black face (confronting the black stereotype) to the current unmasking of her skin, her body and her feelings as she struggles to find herself as an artist and African-American.
Included in this exhibition are approximately 12 paintings. Typically autobiographical, McIver’s paintings focus on her close friends, her family or herself. On view are two paintings of the well-known choreographer, Bill T. Jones, bowed as if in dance; a painting of a close friend, Annah, nude and pregnant; and a portrait of another friend, Dorothy, at rest and in recovery from illness. In addition there are several self portraits, some painfully deliberate, bare and honest and others playful and masked. One self-portrait shows McIver nude, post breast-reduction surgery, while another, Turning 50, McIver sports a birthday/clown hat and big smile, while in another McIver stares upward, hiding behind red rimmed dark glasses.
McIver’s work can be found in a number of public collections, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Duke University, Durham, NC; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, most notably the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, 2003-04; Marie Walsh Sharpe Fellowship, 2003 and again in 2012-2013; Radcliffe Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, 2002; Creative Capital Grant, 2002; John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 2001; Anonymous Was A Woman Grant, 2000; and North Carolina Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship, 1994. As a finalist in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, McIver’s work is currently on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC through February 2014. In December of 2011, HBO presented a feature length documentary about the life and painting of Beverly McIver, titled Raising Renee, directed and written by Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher, and produced by West City Films.
Beverly McIver was born in Greensboro, NC and received a BA in Painting and Drawing from North Carolina Central University and a MFA in Painting and Drawing from Pennsylvania State University. In 2007 she received an Honorary Doctorate from North Carolina Central University and has been a Professor of Art there since the same year. The artist lives and works in Durham, NC.