First Thursdays event at The Studios of Key West on May 4, 6-8 p.m.

“The Fabric of Soul” by Avis Collins Robinson
Sanger Gallery and
“Nocturnal: Key West at Night” by Mark Hedden

The Studios of Key West

533 Eaton Street
Two new exhibitions open at The Studios of Key West this month. Quilts and paintings by Avis Collins Robinson will be on display in the Sanger Gallery, and the nighttime photography of Mark Hedden will be presented in the XOJ Gallery. The public is invited to meet the artists at an opening reception Thursday, May 4, 6-8 p.m. during first Thursdays.
In The “Fabric of Soul,” Avis Collins Robinson exhibits new paintings and quilts that portray, both directly and metaphorically, the richness of African American life and the deep, layered meanings of a simple word: soul. In “The Souls of Black Folk,” one of the most important American books of the 20th Century, W.E.B. Du Bois used the concept of soul to convey the universal nature of the human struggle – joys and sorrows, the satisfaction of accomplishment, the comfort of family and the persistent resonance of history. Robinson’s portraits are more than beautifully rendered likenesses; they invite the viewer to look into her subjects’ souls and experience our common humanity.

Her quilts, too, are imbued not just with striking color and form but with history and emotion as well. She uses fabric to tell stories of freedom and funk, of spirit and solidarity. Using the rich traditions of African American quiltmaking as a foundation, she has developed a new visual language – sometimes with deceptive simplicity masking great complexity, sometimes so jam-packed with energy that the pieces of fabric almost seem to be in motion, always overflowing with soul. You know it when you feel it.

With her recent selection as an artist into the prestigious Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies program, Robinson takes her place among world class artists. As part of the program, one of her quilts was prominently installed at the United Nations building in New York.

In the XOJ Gallery, studio artist Mark Hedden presents “Nocturnal: Key West at Night.”

Hedden has spent the last several years riding his bike around Key West at night, seeking out it’s unlit corners, trying to catch the island off guard. In his first solo exhibition at The Studios new home he shows a collection of photos taken when the intense sunlight and over-bright colors slip into shadow, when the island doesn’t seem to be trying so hard, when it becomes enveloped in the ease of a comfortable strangeness.
Both exhibitions remain on vie through May 26.