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"Conversation with Igun: Sculpture by Melvin Edwards"
2001-03-16 until 2001-05-13
Bayly Art Museum
These relatively small welded steel sculptures make powerful statements, inspired both from personal
experiences and African and African-American references. The title of the exhibition refers to Igun, the
patron god of metal working, and the conversation, the works themselves, combine a disciplined formalism
with a lyrical freedom. Included in this exhibition is work from Edwards' ongoing series, Lynch Fragments,
which combines chains, padlocks and other found metal implements with abstracted forms. The real world
surfaces and disappears in the dark recesses of these compact works. The formal properties of both the wall
reliefs and free standing sculpture--the strong diagonals or arcs, the surface texture, and color--initially draw
our attention. On closer inspection, we discover the found objects, and an implied narrative unfolds.
Melvin Edwards grew up in the West and Southwest, establishing his reputation as a sculptor in the 1960s,
when a proliferation of artists worked in cast and welded metal. After moving to New York in the 1970s, he
participated in the art world's widening interest in issues of race and ethnicity, as evidence in his extensive
exhibition record and visiting artist positions. The artist's exhibition at the Bayly Art Museum is sponsored
in part by the University's Arts Enhancement Funds. It also supports an exciting multi-arts program
sponsored by the Virginia Festival of the Book, March 22-25, 2001. Mr. Edwards' wife, Jayne Cortez, will
perform her poetry, accompanied by the Untempered Ensemble, on Thursday, March 22, at 9 pm at Culbreth
The exhibition is supported in part by the Office of African-American Affairs.
Melvin Edwards, American, born 1937
Welded steel, 12 x 7 x 10
Courtesy of CDS Gallery, New York