God City Artist is the name of a growing collective group of African-American artists from Charlotte. The artists formed God City in 2005 due to their appreciation of art and hip-hop culture. The group, which exhibits extensively in the region, opened with an exhibit in Rosenthal Gallery on the campus of Fayetteville State University during the month of February.
  The exhibit, God City Artist, will remain in Rosenthal Gallery until March 20, 2009 and includes work by the following artists: Antoine “Raw” Williams, Donovan Lyons, de` Angelo Dia.15.18, John Hairston Jr., Tamika Elise and Jen Woods. 
  {mosimage}The exhibit is a colorful collection of paintings and prints. The works submitted by each artist contributes to a collective body of work that is unified, each work complimenting one another in addition to their own individuality.
  The art of Williams is mainly composed of mixed media that includes spray paint. Prophet vs. Profit and His-Story are two 48” x 30” paintings that greet the viewer. These two works set the tone for his style. 
  Prophet vs. Profit is a painting of a male in front of a yellow and white background accompanied by graffiti stencils of smiling faces at the top and stenciled bug shapes at the bottom. The bright colors in his work compliments his subject; while the graffiti stencils balance the composition and create spatial tension.
  His-Story shows another male, illustrated in pencil, wearing headphones with a blue background, white paint splattered around him. The white tone of the splatters is an important element in the work and creates an overall pattern of harmony.
  Donovan Lyons is exhibiting two political-oriented paintings. Black Ties: Bushed and Black Ties: Obama 365. The latter shows President Barack Obama in a yellowish outline, three-quarter view, in front of a map of the United States. The many variations of blue in this painting are visually stimulating. Yet the painting is flattened; the outline around him does little to bring Obama towards the viewer. Obama’s center position in the composition directs the focus of the painting.   
  Dia.15.18 collaborated with Woods and Elise for three mixed-media works on canvas. The painting titled Gravity is Dead You See… is abstract and emphasizes circles without being overly repetitious. The color choice is mostly bright colors with limited tones of black. The colors evoke movement due to their many directions in the same work. 
  The God City Artist exhibit would not be complete without Hairston and his series titled My Favorite Ladies. The series is composed of five 48” x 60” paintings of women he has dated. In the work titled Incense, Blogs, and Conscious: Rap Lyrics Can Only Bring So Much Change, he shows an African-American female donning an afro-puffed hairstyle. In her hand, it appears she is holding a Molotov cocktail.
  Hairston paints detail in most of the female forms; however, from the waist down, the figure is clearly incomplete. Shown only as heavy strokes, the female’s legs are easily an eyesore, disrupting the flow of the figure in its environment.  
  In the painting titled Being for the Benefit of Mr. Green, a green-colored female has a spray paint can in her right hand. The lady stands in front of a background partly composed of a darker green. Hairston uses color to move the figure spatially closer to the viewer from the background. The background itself holds its own interest with a variation of line making marks across the surface.
  Although Hairston’s series has its painterly flaws; the females depicted in the series have enough detail to make a near complete set that is pleasurable to view.
  The artists have achieved their goals of inspiring change through unity and challenging the viewer. The beauty of God City is that each artist presents us with their own voice and way of expressing harmony. Their use of graffiti elements in the different works unifies the exhibit and moves the viewer from work to work. 
  Rosenthal Gallery, on the campus of Fayetteville State University. The exhibit is free to the public. For information call (910) 672-1057.


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