First Museum Show For McArthur Binion Opens at CAMH

McArthur Binion, a Chicago artist born in Mississippi, who came of age in Detroit as the eleventh child of a family that went from tenant farmers to factory workers in the automotive plants, is having his first solo museum show at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston (CAMH) opening Jan. 6th (through April 1).

While Binion’s monochromatic work has been compared critically to minimalist practice, the artist resists that explanation and cites his work’s narrative instead in the use of his hands to make his paintings, and his choice of child-like materials – wax crayons – which he presses onto shaped wood and aluminum panels. He has said that the act of using his hands, is reminiscent of his childhood: “The same hands, which bled picking cotton as a child, now bleed from the abrasion of colored wax on wood.”

The first African-American to receive his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in the school’s history, Binion’s own layered history is story-based, formally rigorous, and evocative of music-making. He deals, he has written, with “media on a surface. Crayons are shovels in my hands digging under and through, laying my histories bare. … The juxtaposition produces what Cecil Taylor once called “elegance in the extreme”-making the most cerebral work with the most elementary tools.”


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