Exhibition Dates: August 1 – September 19, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 1 from 6–9 pm, in conjunction with White Linen Night
Gallery Location: 434 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com
The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present The Dapper Bruce Lafitte Introduces: Draw Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee, an exhibition of works on paper by Bruce Davenport, Jr. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger@434, located at 434 Julia Street, from August 1 – September 19, 2015. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist in attendance, Saturday, August 1 from 6-9 pm in conjunction with White Linen Night.
This is Bruce Davenport, Jr.’s second exhibition with the gallery. The four large-scale works are tributes to renowned heavyweight boxer champion Muhammad Ali. Each vivid color marker drawing, rendered in the artist’s celebrated style, is a variation of a common composition – an aerial view of a boxing match. Featured in the ring are the referee, Ali, and his opponent – Floyd Patterson, George Foreman, “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier among others. Surrounding the ring are meticulously rendered rows with throngs of spectators. Bordering this narrative are snapshots of Ali in action, along with memorable quotes such as, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”
Customary in Davenport, Jr.’s works are the scrawlings of his personal thoughts and observations – scattered throughout in pockets of quiet spaces. Common themes include Ali’s influence on the artist as a child, who Davenport, Jr. describes as, “a hero to the black kids in the Lafitte Projects.” He also laments his relationship with his father noting, “I always needed a better father figure than what I had and Muhammad Ali was that father figure to me.” The drawings in this exhibition continue the artist’s examination of family, community, celebrity and legacy.
Bruce Davenport, Jr. was born in 1972 at Charity Hospital and grew up in the Lafitte Housing Projects in the 6th Ward. With the encouragement of his grandparents who raised him, he began to draw at the age of five as a means to entertain himself and document the world around him. The artist has been described as, “not so much a self-taught artist as he is a self-taught anthropologist.”
Bruce Davenport Jr.’s work has received national attention. He has exhibited at the Dieu Donne Gallery and the As If Gallery in New York and also at the Lambent Foundation in New York. His work was exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans as part of Prospect 1.5 and at the New Orleans Museum of Art as part of Prospect 2. Bruce Davenport lives and works in the Lower 9th Ward.