Painter and Poet: the Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan continues the High Museum’s series of picture-book art exhibitions. It examines the decades-long career of author and illustrator Ashley Bryan (American, born 1923). He has published children’s books in a dizzying array of styles that reflect a wide variety of influences, from African folktales to jazz and poetry. The exhibition includes over 70 works of art from 20 of Bryan’s books. Among these is a selection of paintings from Bryan’s most recent title, Freedom Over Me, published by Simon & Schuster in September 2016. Through powerfully rendered illustrations and free-verse poetry, Bryan gives life and personality to a group of enslaved people sold at auction in the nineteenth century. In addition to surveying Bryan’s adaptations of poetry, folklore, and spirituals, the exhibition will explore the artist’s fascinating biography and the important role that family heritage plays in his work.
Eight of Bryan’s puppets, which are inspired by African art and composed of objects he finds on the small Maine island where he lives, will accompany his book illustrations in Painter and Poet. The exhibition will also feature a biographical video produced by the High with footage of Bryan at his home and studio, providing audiences with an intimate look at the artist’s life. Visitors of all ages will find inspiration in Bryan’s captivating artwork and timeless stories.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.