New exhibitions with works by Charly Palmer, Jerry Jordan, and Barber open at Portrait Society Gallery

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New exhibitions with works by Charly Palmer, Jerry Jordan, and Barber open at Portrait Society Gallery
Charly Palmer, Float. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 20 in.

MILWAUKEE, WIS.- Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art is presenting a new exhibition, “Charly Palmer: On the Shoulders of Many,” running through September 4. In addition, two adjacent shows present work by Jerry Jordan and the artist known as Barber. Charly Palmer will be in Milwaukee to discuss his work at 6 p.m. July 30.

CHARLY PALMER: On the Shoulders of Many

Palmer presents a new group of work that addresses the influences of both historic and contemporary individuals. Originally from Milwaukee, Charly Palmer (b. 1960) has lived in Atlanta, Georgia since 1991. This is the first time he has shown his work in Milwaukee since he left 30 years ago.

In recent years, Palmer has achieved national acclaim. His painting “In Her Eyes” was featured on the cover of Time Magazine (July 6, 2020), when he was commissioned by Time to respond to the murder of George Floyd. His painting “His Story” was part of Maya Angelou’s art collection, auctioned by Swann Gallery in 2015. Palmer also provided the art for John Legend‘s latest album, “Bigger Love”; a poster for the 1996 Olympics; and commissions marking the 150th anniversaries of both Fisk University and Howard University. In addition to his painting practice, he teaches at the post-secondary level, most recently at Spelman College. Palmer received the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Palmer studied art and design at the American Academy of Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then ran a design agency. A current retrospective of his work is on view at Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta.

As a tribute to individuals who mentored and supported him when he was an emerging artist in Milwaukee, Palmer has included four additional artists in his exhibition: Gerald Duane Coleman, Carolyn White Travanti, Evelyn Patricia Terry, and Della Wells. Their stories of influence will be part of the exhibition content.

JERRY JORDAN: A Vivrant Thing

Jerry Jordan (b. 1966) makes articulate, realist oil paintings that, he says, function as “manifestations of ideas and impressions inspired by the beauty of the everyday world.” For this exhibition,“A Vivrant Thing,” (titled after Q-Tip’s song of the same name) he has created a necessary rebuttal to society’s accepted norms and racist stereotypes that restrict and strangle Black lives. “My paintings are a refutation in the form of VIVRANT moments of bliss and possibilities,” Jordan stated. Jerry Jordan is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BA in art, as well as an MS in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Art Education. He was recently featured in American Art Collector Magazine (June 2021). His painting, “The Butterfly Hunter,” was a 2020 finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s “Art of the Portrait” competition.

BARBER: Village Ghetto Land

Barber, in his first exhibition with PSG, is presenting a project called “Village Ghetto Land,” an exhibition of urban memorials and abstracted portrait paintings. He says this work, “articulates the silver lining encompassing the grief from 2020’s stench of injustices gone viral and Covid-19.” Modeled after a pop song written by Stevie Wonder and Gary Bird in 1976, Barber says that Village Ghetto Land, “serves as a witness to our aligned social experiences. Like its namesake, this exhibition uses art to defend against social oppressions designed to categorize the masses into racialized groups or ideology, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.”

Barber’s practice is interdisciplinary, ranging from collage to painting, installation, assemblage, and performance.

Barber earned his MA and MFA at the University of Iowa. Recent awards include 2020 Biennial Artist Research fellowship at Sam Fox Island Press, Washington University, St. Louis; inclusion in New American Painting (Midwest); nominated for Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors award, and recipient of the Alonzo Davis Award from Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Selected exhibitions include the Englert Theatre and Levitt Gallery (Iowa City, Iowa); the Museum of Science and Industry and Ignition Project Space (Chicago, Illinois); Public Artwork on Atlanta BeltLine, the Rialto Theatre, and Mason Murer Gallery (Atlanta, Georgia); the Lexington Theatre (Kentucky); and Gallery 4731 (Detroit, Michigan). Barber was a 2020 artist-in-residence at the Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska and he recently completed a residency at High Concept Labs, Chicago.

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