Art—Life Itself: The Work of James C. McMillan

Gallery West is proud to present an extraordinary exhibition of African-American artist James C. McMillan, Art—Life Itself: The Work of James C. McMillan, from September 9 through October 19, 2014. The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, September 9 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. with Professor McMillan in attendance.

McMillan, now 88, has led a life of adventure, challenge, purpose and vision. His journey has taken him from the Navy and Pearl Harbor to the Academie Julian in Paris; from participation in the Sit-In Movement during the Civil Rights years in North Carolina to a career as a distinguished professor at Bennett College, and finally appointment as the first African American chair of the Art Department at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Though he retired in 1988, McMillan has continued to work and involve himself in the arts on many levels. In addition to remaining an active painter, he was one of the co-founders and the first president of the African American Atelier, a gallery focused on African American art, opened in Greensboro in 1991.

His work, found in numerous institutional and private collections, has recently come to national attention through its discovery by several major collectors. Consequently, McMillan is now shown nationally as part of a distinct group of some of the most important African American artists of the last two centuries. He was the subject of a major retrospective in California in 2010 and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art.

The work to be shown at Gallery West will be an historical and varied view of his life and art through its reach back into his early career before and during his time in Paris, carrying through to the Civil Rights Movement, and now into McMillan’s most recent work capturing the “movement” of the North Carolina landscape, literally from the mountains to the sea. Painting, drawing, and printmaking are featured, representing a body of work ranging from the 1940s to the present.