Color Within the Lines Debuts at Wildwood
Thursday, August 19, 2021
“Color Within the Lines” opens Aug. 23 in the third floor art gallery at St. Louis Community College at Wildwood, 2645 Generations Drive.
This exhibit features nearly 20 works created by Robert A. Ketchens, an award-winning social realist painter who is best-known for creating layered artworks that are rich and deep in both color and symbolism.
The community is invited to view the exhibit through Oct. 8 on campus or by exploring the College’s online art gallery.
The bright and vibrant paintings included in this exhibit showcase Ketchens’ views on African American culture, history and societal issues, including today’s struggle for equality.
“I am a true believer in the power of color and its use in painting as emotional thread,” he explained. “Being a Black man raised in the South, my works are composed and woven with reflections of my collective experiences and visual memory of life in the South’s system of Jim Crow -- separate but not equal.”
About the Artist
Robert A. Ketchens was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1952. In the late 1970s, he was given the opportunity to study abroad in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he learned traditional techniques in painting. These techniques have remained as the solid foundation through the continuing body of his work.
Over the years, he has had solo exhibitions nationwide, including those at the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp Museum, Fontbonne University Museum, the Margaret Harwell Museum, and the Dusable Museum in Chicago. His selected group exhibitions include the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, and the Museum Center of Records and Documents for Senegal in Senegal, West Africa, among others. His work is held in numerous public and private collections, most notably the permanent collection of the Illinois State Museum and the Missouri History Museum.
In 2016, he received a Purchase Award with the 22nd African American Art Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky. He exhibited the same year at Art Basel, Miami, Scope Exhibition tent, and several of his paintings were also exhibited in the Macaya Fine Arts Gallery in Miami. Also in 2016, he was commissioned by Focus Films to paint a mural of the famous Olympian Jesse Owens, in downtown St. Louis, to promote the opening of their movie production called “Race”. Then in 2017, he received a commission from the Missouri History Museum to complete four portraits of St. Louis’ African American civil rights leaders and activists, for their exhibition titled “#1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis.” These paintings remain in their permanent collection.
Ketchens currently lives and works in O’Fallon, Illinois.
For more information about this exhibit, contact Mark Weber, STLCC-Wildwood’s gallery coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.