Art gallery celebrates Black History Month

Alexandra Radovic , Associate Editor

A colorful collection of artwork celebrating African-American culture and empowerment hangs in the Pascal Art Gallery through Feb. 28 in celebration of Black History Month.

Tony Jerome Spencer, an artist, performer and founder of the Enrapture Records recording company, began painting the “TRYBE-ALL Celebrations” series in 2014 and finished it within a year.

Spencer said his original inspiration stemmed from “trying to create imaginary instruments that were also Afrocentric.”

“[But] what you start with is not always what you’ll end up with,” Spencer said.

He credits his good friend, former Maryland Institute College of Art professor Joan Gaither, for her perspective on his work. Gaither told him about finding “the paintings within a painting” as the French impressionist painter Renoir did.

To create some of the smaller paintings in his “TRYBE-ALL Celebration” series, like “Abridged” and “Submerged,” Spencer enlarged square inch segments from larger paintings.

The figures in Spencer’s paintings do not have hands or feet because they are “symbols of power,” said Spencer. “They are trying to regain the power they have lost through life’s struggles.”

“Too often we get down … we need to reclaim our power,” Spencer said.

Additional works by Spencer that will be featured in the gallery this February, include “Safari,” “One More River to Cross” and “Swinging On The Back 9” which he painted in 1969, when he was in high school.

“I stopped painting for a very long time … until 2006,” said Spencer. “Now is a time for me to paint.”

Spencer finished his first piece of the year, “Library,” on Jan. 29. It is displayed in the Pascal Gallery with the rest of his collection.

Spencer will host a reception in the gallery on Feb. 11 from 4-6 p.m.