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May Issue 2010

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture in Charlotte, NC, Offers Works by Michael B. Platt

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture in Charlotte, NC, is presenting the exhibit, Spirits and Spaces: The Prints of Michael B. Platt, on view in the Center's Gallery East through Aug. 15, 2010.

Platt, a printmaker, visual historian and visual storyteller is a Washington, DC, based artist who uses digital photography and the printing process to share his keen sense of observation to express traces of the human spirit. As an image maker, Platt's utilization of his experiences of the African Diaspora provokes, challenges and celebrates the human condition.

"For the past three years my imagery has centered on ritual and the transformation of the human spirit that occurs when it confronts imagined or actual events and circumstances. Most recently, using digitally manipulated female figures to manifest such transformations in my prints, as well as the artist books and broadsides done in collaboration with poet Carol Beane, I have addressed issues of slavery, Hurricane Katrina, waiting, and searching for home," states Platt.

Platt also wanted to celebrate the significance of the shotgun house, so he and Poet Carol A. Beane built a replicate entitled Abandoned Space, which is an eye-catching major attraction in the gallery.  The shotgun house is a narrow rectangular domestic residence, consisting of three to five rooms in a row with no hallways. Shotgun houses are still the most prevalent housing style in many southern cities and towns. Yet, that opinion received mixed reviews because some houses are bulldozed due to urban renewal, while others are beneficiaries of historic preservation and gentrification.

Platt is a 2007 recipient of the prestigious Franz and Virginia Bader Fund Grant. Long known as a printmaker, he now prefers the more encompassing designation, "image-maker." His artwork recently has turned to digital imagery and book art that combines image and poetry - fragments, allowing us glimpses of our selves. He continues to create artwork that centers on figurative explorations of life's survivors, the marginalized, referencing history and circumstance in the rites, rituals and expressions of our human condition.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 704/547-3700 or visit (www.ganttcenter.org).

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