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The Gourmet Gazette

By Trish Valicenti

These are powerfully soothing works. Peaceful, pastel colors at times heightened with earth tones, all painted in the round. The Mnuchin Gallery in New York City is currently presenting a solo exhibition of the work of the American contemporary artist Betty Blayton who was born in Virginia in 1937 and died in New York City in 2016. Entitled in Search of Grace, the show, running through to October 16th, celebrates the work of this pioneering figure of abstraction. So if you can’t be in New York right now, The Gourmet Gazette gives you a glimpse of the show here.

Her use of the circular canvas was used as a symbol of the cyclical nature of life’s many stages and the continuity between man and nature. Her themes were often metaphysical, mythological and mystical stemming from her early conversations as a child with her father, her discovery of the 17th century Rosicrucianism spiritual movement and an interest in the Eastern Relgions and the New Age movement including the writings of Edgar Cayce.

The artist would continue painting throughout her life, showing regularly in New York City and throughout the United States, but Betty Blayton was also a pioneer of the Harlem art scene as well as in the field of arts education. She was the co-founder of The Studio Museum in Harlem and the co-founder and Executive Director of the Children’s Art Carnival in Harlem for 30 years. One of her most successful students was Jean-Michel Basquiat. The museum-quality exhibition at the Mnuchin Gallery was curated by Sukanya Rajaratnam and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue authored by Betty Blayton’s close friend and art historian, Lowery Stokes Sims.

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