Over 60 works by self-taught African-American artist William L. Hawkins will be on display at the Mingei International Museum through Aug. 26 before the Balboa Park institution closes for a year-long transformation.
Hawkins, who lived 1895-1990, was born in Kentucky and worked in Columbus, Ohio, for most of his life. He began his painting career in the 1930s, experimenting with house paint on found wood, while supporting himself with a variety of jobs that served as inspiration for his art.
The landscapes, cityscapes, historical scenes and exotic wild animals on display were created using bold colors, collage and images from popular magazines.
“This exhibition broadens the discourse beyond what it means when a man with no education in art produces a body of work that engages with issues central to contemporary art — such as the impact of popular culture or the tension between figure and ground — in such a consistent, innovative, and energetic way,” said exhibition organizers Timothy J. Schiffer of Figge Art Museum and Nannette V. Maciejunes of the Columbus Museum of Art.
The Hawkins exhibition is the last before a multi-million dollar renovation of the museum begins in September.
The Mingei is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.