HAMPTON, VA - Her Story: Margo Humphrey Lithographs and Works on Paper will be on view from Feb. 4 through May 9 at the Hampton University Museum. Her Story surveys the career of the renowned printmaker Margo Humphrey, representing more than 40 years of the artist’s practice. Her Story was jointly curated by Robert E. Steele, executive director of the David Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, and Curator Dr. Adrienne L. Childs.
The works presented highlight more than 45 years of artistry by one of America’s most unique talents. Margo Humphrey’s bold, expressive use of color and freedom of form defy the two dimensionality of the printmaking medium, creating a body of work that is engaging, exuberant and alive. Through personal narrative Humphrey takes the viewer on a voyage of self-discovery that chronicles her life, loves, family, fears, joys and more. Although often intimate and idiosyncratic, Humphrey’s personal stories can be linked to the political dynamics of the feminist art movement that emerged in the 1970s during her early years of development as an artist and printmaker. Her lithographs The Last Bar-B-Que (1987), in the Hampton University Museum collection and The History of Her Life Written Across Her Face (1991) have become iconic images in American visual culture, demonstrating her ability to capture aspects of a larger African American cultural experience through personal memory, confessional, and a unique symbolic language.
Her Story features works on paper in a variety of media including lithography, monoprint, woodcut, etching and drawing. This array of works demonstrates the extraordinary skill Humphrey developed as one of the earliest African-American female artists to distinguish herself as a lithographer in a highly technical, male dominated profession. She eventually produced prints at some of the most important printmaking ateliers in the nation including Tamarind Institute, The Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper (now the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions) and Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop.
Born in Oakland, Calif. in 1942, Margo Humphrey was an artist from birth. She went to public schools in Oakland and graduated from California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) with a BA. She received an MFA from Stanford University in 1974 and taught art at University of California Santa Cruz from 1974 to 1982. Humphrey is currently a professor in the Department of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she has been since 1989. Humphrey’s works have been exhibited internationally in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa; she has held grants from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. Her works are in the Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Hampton University Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, among many others.
The illustrated monograph Margo Humphrey, by Adrienne L. Childs, Volume VII in the David C. Driskell Series of African American Art, will be available for sale. Published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc. independently of the exhibition, the book presents over 45 color palates from the artists early experiments in abstraction to groundbreaking lithographs in her signature “sophisticated naïve” style. The text includes a foreword by David C. Driskell and a text by Childs that considers the memories and events that have inspired her powerful body of work.
All exhibitions and events at the Hampton University Museum are free and open to the public. The facility is wheelchair accessible.
Hampton University Museum
Founded in 1868, the Hampton University Museum is the nation’s oldest African American museum. With galleries dedicated to African American, African, American Indian and Asian and Pacific art and artifacts, the museum contains more than 9,000 objects representing cultures and people from around the world. Within its fine arts collection is the largest existing collection of works in any museum by the artists John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and Samella Lewis.
The Hampton University Museum is located in the newly restored Huntington Building (the former library) on the grounds of historic Hampton University campus. From Interstate 64, take exit 267/Hampton University and follow the signs to the museum.