The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present Bruce Jr. Does the Parades, an exhibition of work on paper by Bruce Davenport, Jr. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger@434, located at 434 Julia Street, from August 3 – September 14, 2013. The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist in attendance, Saturday, August 3 from 6-9 pm in conjunction with “White Linen Night.”
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. Throughout his schooling, particularly at Joseph S. Clark, he was exposed to and intrigued by the junior high and high school marching band culture – a culture that is integral to New Orleans.
Following Hurricane Katrina and the devastation to New Orleans and its schools, Davenport, Jr. felt compelled to honor the past glory of this unique band culture and celebrate those who are able to continue it. In his words, “The marching bands are a passion to me. I love the history and culture… My work serves as an illustrative reminder of an activity that not only encourages creative thought processing but also engages youth with the community and with each other. Using photographic documentation of these bands in action, I recreate their vibrant pageantry… hopefully leaving behind a sacred reminder of a vibrant part of my hometown’s identity.”
Bruce Davenport, Jr.’s vivid color marker drawings provide detailed reenactments – the bands in precise number and formation and the multitude of spectators surrounding them. The small- and large-scale works on paper are flecked with the artist’s thoughts and tributes, interspersed between the crowds and streets. The rendered still moments evoke the energy and ceremony of the entire procession. 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.