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TOWARD THE CENTER: In Conversation with Patric McCoy, Juarez Hawkins, and Jonathan Green

April 21, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm



Join SSCAC Archives and Collections Manager LaMar Gayles Jr. for a conversation with EMERGENCE exhibiting artists Patric McCoy, Juarez Hawkins, and Jonathan Green for a conversation centering their individual practices, personal knowledge of artists in the SSCAC archive, and their relationships to Black art communities specific to Chicago’s South Side.

This program is organized in conjunction with SSCAC’S current exhibition, EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center, with programming support by Northwestern University.

EMERGENCE spotlights The South Side Community Art Center’s historical role in supporting a full spectrum of Black artists through an intersectional viewpoint. EMERGENCE positions the Center as an important anchor for Black LGBTQ artists who belonged to its community from its founding in 1940 to the 1980s and features work addressing identity and community, queer spaces and performance, in collage, painting, sculpture, photography, and more.


Juarez Hawkins

Juarez Hawkins (born 1962) is a painter, ceramicist, curator and educator from Chicago, IL, whose work explores questions of identity, spirituality and the body. Juarez received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her M.A. from Columbia College Chicago. She has exhibited widely, with solo shows at the 33 Collective Gallery, Concordia University and the South Side Community Art Center. She is co-curator of Gallery Programs at Chicago State University and has organized exhibitions featuring artists in the permanent collection, including artists such as Richard Hunt and Marva Jolly. Other recent curatorial projects include The Love Affair Continues at the DuSable Museum of African American History and Intersectional Touch at the Hyde Park Art Center. Juarez is a member of Sapphire and Crystals, a collective of African American female artists and is a two-time recipient of the Community Arts Assistance Program Grant. 

Patric McCoy 

Patric McCoy (born 1946) is an art collector, curator, environmental chemist and photographer from Chicago whose art collection contains more than one thousand paintings, drawings, sculptures and collages of work made by African American artists. McCoy went to Englewood High School, the University of Chicago and Governors State University and worked as an environmental scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1976 to 2006. In the 1980s, McCoy developed his practice as a photographer, focusing on everyday lives of people and the landscape of Chicago. In 2003, McCoy co-founded Diasporal Rhythms, a non-profit that promotes the collection of art by living African-American artists. McCoy’s collection was shown at the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago in 2018. 

Jonathan Green

Jonathan Green (born 1955) is a painter and printmaker, from Gardens Corner, South Carolina. Green’s work explores narrative realism through depictions of everyday life, often in rural settings. Green was raised by his grandmother, who taught him about the culture and dialect of the Gullah communities of the U.S. South. Green’s relationship to the Gullah culture remains one of the major influences on his work. After serving in the United States Air Force, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving his BFA in 1982. Green began working with the South Side Community Art Center in the 1980’s and had a solo exhibition there in 1987. His work is in the permanent collections of several museums, including Morris Museum in August, GA, The African-American Museum in Philadelphia, PA and The Naples Museum of Art in Naples, FL. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina and published the book Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green in 1996. Green has taken part in countless exhibitions, including In the Hands of African American Collectors at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles and Highlights: African American Art from the Norton Collection at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL. 

image courtesy:
Juarez Hawkins (1962–). Self-Portrait. Oil pastel and acrylic onmuseum board, 1992. Collection of the artist.


April 21, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Works in EMERGENCE are diverse in their subject matter and media, but a few themes reappear throughout. Working in abstraction or in the traditionally peaceful genre of still life, artists like William Carter, Allen Stringfellow, and Jonathan Green express themes of interiority or sociability, history or modernity. Notably, Stringfellow and Ralph Arnold both experimented with media and materials and worked extensively in collage, which allowed them to combine abstract design, figurative imagery, and on occasion political ideas.

Viewers typically expect Black artists to focus on particular aspects of their social and political identities within their work. Where might those expectations come from? Still life, abstraction, and collage may express many different things about artists’ interior lives and their visual and social observation, whether connected to public manifestations of identity or not.

William Carter’s mid-century still life Untitled presents a group of vibrantly colored bottles that invite the viewer’s gaze, set against a similarly colorful background with floral elements like grapes and leaves. They give evidence of conviviality and might be interpreted as symbols of social gatherings, but they could also just be a collection of pleasing forms. We might put Carter’s still life in dialogue with that of Jonathan Green, who became close friends with Carter while living in Chicago. Green’s close-up view of an eloquently simple composition presents oranges, a pear, and a lemon in front of two vessels. Works like this piece call the viewer to examine the objects the artist chose to include, to consider how they interact with each other like bodies in space, and to reflect on their meaning within the traditional genre of still life painting.

Collage might suggest the piecing together of identity from different components that might not usually coexist, giving room for more expansive imaginations of meaning than a straightforward representational image might allow. It could also just be an inventive way of combining colors, shapes, and textures. Allen Stringfellow’s Untitled, a collage from 1962, brings familiar motifs from still life—fruit and flowers, desserts and glassware—together with imagery of artist’s models and performers. Layered with paint and tissue paper that frustrate the viewer’s attempt to get clarity on the subject matter, the bursts of form and colors hint at the splashy abstraction of Stringfellow’s untitled, textured painting made from house paint and particulate on cardboard. Here the artist tests commonly found materials to create new textures and plays with the creation of colors and finishes that diverge from “Western” academic painting methods.

In The Waiting, Arnold constructs a large collage from different paper components, lace, and paint. In the piece, elements of European and African art are placed in dialogue with one another, while some figures appear alone and isolated, others in large groups. Without giving easy answers, Arnold implies questions about social issues. Who is waiting, and for what? In his Love Sign II, which bears the words “Love is Universal,” Arnold asserts the equal validity of all types of romantic affection and love, utilizing collage to convey a more straightforward political message.