Albany Museum of Art

Albany, Georgia




The Art of Woodie Long


The Albany Museum of Art in Albany, Georgia is pleased to announce that The Art of Woodie Long will be on view at the Museum April 15 through June 6, 1999. This retrospective exhibition of work by the Alabama folk artist includes some of Long's earliest work as well as recent works. On Thursday, April 15th, Long will give a gallery talk about his work, and a reception will follow. The talk and the reception are free and open to the public.

Woodie Long was a painter before he became a full-time artist. He painted homes, and ships, and palaces. During the 1950s, while working for Stuart Melon in Florida setting tile on ships, he would occasionally pick up a painter's spray gun. He would spray-paint large scenes of animals and people fishing, knowing that the surface he covered was destined to be sandblasted and repainted the next day. In 1988 when Woodie first picked up his wife's art brushes, his colorful compositions of animals and people were soon discovered.

Woodie Long's paintings evoke memories of his childhood in the south. The exhibition at the AMA includes two works in the Museum's permanent collection, Plantation Man and Picken Cotton.

Long picked cotton in Alabama when he was young, and these two paintings reflect this life experience. In Plantation Man, a man with a pink whip sits upon a menacing horse on his hind legs at the bottom center of the painting. He is almost lost among a multitude of African-American cotton pickers. In Picken Cotton, row after row of workers are painted bright clothing, standing between rows of fluffy white cotton. Long creates very simplistic, yet visually stimulating patterns of layered paint which give the works a sense of motion. Bright, swirling colors and agitated brushstrokes evoke the strong emotion and hardship caused by this type of work.

The Dougherty County School System is partnering with the AMA to bring Woodie Long and his work to the children of the community. Long will work with fourth and fifth graders to create a mural for the school system. The artist enjoys working with children. In his workshops, he is able to complete a painting in a manner of minutes. Long says that by making painting look easy, the children are less intimidated by art and believe that they, too, can create.

From top to bottom: Plantation Man; Picken Cotton

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This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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