On Friday, Feb. 3, Westobou will open an “Immaculate” gallery and an artist reception featuring local artist Devin Lovett’s paintings.
Lovett has been professionally practicing art for the past four years in Augusta, and the pieces highlighted are a result from Westobou’s year-long residency program.
Prior to showing his work in multiple galleries across the CSRA and Metro Atlanta, Lovett’s work started out as sketches and line work, and has evolved to acrylic and traditional oil paintings.
His focus has changed from Expressionism – known for its vivid colors, bold strokes and strong emotions – to a more contemporary style of painting.
“Most of his work portrays stark forms combined with loose brushstrokes to create a chiseled effect that evokes a sense of macabre or melancholy,” according to Westobou’s website.
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Lovett said he views a blank canvas and white backgrounds in general as a welcome invite for color and creation. After being chosen as Westobou’s artist in residence for 2022 and receiving usage of the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Lovett was inspired by the building’s history.
“I thought about the countless individuals who entered buildings just like this one all across the country. An identity that existed for centuries. Stripped away in only decades, leaving a barren identity in its place,” he said in an artist statement from Westobou. “Then, a new culture. The birth of a new identity. One who’s conception was far from perfect, but flourished and thrived under the harshest of circumstances.”
Taking note from his thoughts of buildings’ history, Lovett created nameless figures stripped of identity, who are only represented by their skin, cultural heritage and background.
“They represent the birth of the Black American identity. The use of dark shadows and muted mid tones under deep rich ochres and blues clashes with the stark white backgrounds in a way that enhances the figure and propels the narrative of the overall body of work,” he said.
In addition to painting, Lovett also takes pride in working with local committees intent on bringing to light social issues – such as the 1970 Augusta Riot Remembrance Committee.
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“The figures are also blinded to drive home the sense of uncertainty for this new culture’s future, in the same way African slaves were constantly uncertain of their own survival in this new foreign land,” he said.
With the gallery open from Feb. 3 to April 8, Westobou will host an artist talk opening night starting at 5 p.m. and a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery will be located at 1129 Broad St. in downtown Augusta, Ga.
“I ask that the viewer try to understand the work as an evolution. One that constantly changes and grows. Just like the culture it’s meant to represent,” said Lovett.
To see Lovett’s previous work, visit: https://pseudstudios.com/menu
For more information on Westobou, visit: https://www.westobou.org
Liz Wright is a staff writer covering education, lifestyle and general assignments for The Augusta Press. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
I did not see the location of the gallery.
Hi Richard! The gallery will be located at 1129 Broad St. in downtown Augusta, Ga.