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Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Tom Moore
Frances Hart
Virginia Adams

fax 870-972-3069


Bradbury Gallery to present Visiting Artist
lecture by Dr. Murry N. DePillars, March 2

Feb. 15, 2005 -- Noted artist Murry N. DePillars will present a public lecture about his work at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, in the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall at Arkansas State University.  The lecture is one of several events related to the exhibition "40 Years: The Art of Murry N. DePillars," opening at the Bradbury Gallery in the Fowler Center on Thursday, March 3.

click to access hi-res version

Murry N. DePillars
Queen Candace - Diamond Quilt (Quilt Series)
acrylic on canvas
40" x 30"
Photo by Elizabeth Leeor


DePillars was born in Chicago in 1938. He earned a B.A. in art education and an M.A. in urban studies from Roosevelt University and a Ph.D. in art education from Pennsylvania State University. His paintings and drawings are empowered by a rich intellect, a consciousness of his African heritage, and a recognition of the potentials of art as an instrument of cultural education and social change.

He became known in the 1960s and 1970s for reversing, through a series of naturalistic, cartoon-like drawings, stereotypical images of African Americans in the public imagination. For instance, in Aunt Jemima (1968) he transformed the image of a docile mammy into a black Amazon conscious of her rights and ready to fight for social justice by using her trademark pancake spatula as a weapon.

DePillarsí later works are more decorative and stylized, reflecting a creative exploration of traditional African sculpture and textile design. In these works the visual suggests the aural by evoking the improvisations, syncopations and multiple rhythms associated with jazz.

DePillarsí work is included in many private and public collections and has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Studio Museum of Harlem, Mississippi Museum of Art and Orlando Museum of Art.

click to access high-res version

Murry N. DePillars
Aunt Jemima, 1968
pen, ink and conte crayon on paper
37 1/2" x 32 1/2"
Photo by Elizabeth Leeor

A lifelong educator, DePillarsí academic achievements are highlighted by his tenure as Dean of the School of Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University where, under his leadership from 1976-1995, the School of Arts earned both national and international recognition.

Co-presented by the Bradbury Gallery and the Department of Art's Visiting Artist/Scholar Lecture Series, the lecture is admission-free and open to the public. 

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Bradbury Gallery at 972-3471 or the Department of Art at 972-3050.

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