What do President Barack Obama, Adolf Hilter, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pee-wee Herman have in common? According to Atlanta-based artist Charly Palmer, each has a “Tar Baby”. In this collection of over 40 mixed media works, Palmer appropriates and reinterprets the tale of “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby” to address contemporary issues of bigotry, racism and stereotyping. Yet, in Palmer’s version it is no longer the archetypal trickster rabbit, but rather civil rights leaders, entertainers, politicians, scholars, and African and Native Americans who confront their tar babies. Each metaphoric “tar baby” represents a conviction to a social cause, a sensitive situation or misguided belief that holds one back. Palmer’s imagery is poignant as it summons a deep emotional response, reaching the inner sanctum of where our "tar baby" lies.
Opening reception: Friday, February 24, 7-9pm
Charly Palmer will be giving an Artist Talk on Thursday, March 8, at 6:30pm. He will be joined by curator, Myrtis Bedolla, and catalog essayist, Horace D. Ballard, Jr.
Meet the artist and curator
Check out this digital walk-through of the show by the artist himself—listen to his commentary on select works and his interpretation of each subject's "tar baby."
Charly Palmer, Artist
Charly Palmer was born in 1960 in Fayette,
Alabama and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A successful graphic designer and
illustrator with his own design studio and Fortune 500 clientele, Palmer
devotes much of his life to pursuing his fine art dreams, and is establishing
himself as a fine artist of note.
Palmer has brought to his complex pictorial compositions a technique and style that are distinctive and readily identifiable. He has in the recent past created work under the assumed name "Carlos," his alter ego. This allowed him, he says, the freedom to experiment, be spontaneous and have fun with his art. The result is a body of work that is less controlled and more abstract and primal. Constantly evolving and growing as an artist, Palmer has over time fused the two artistic styles to the degree that he found the perfect stylistic voice with which to express himself in the powerful "Civil Rights" series.
Charly Palmer studied art and design at the American Academy of Art, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and the School of the Art Institute, both in Chicago, and has taught design and illustration at the college level. His work is in private and public collections, which include Atlanta Life Insurance, McDonald's Corporation, Miller Brewing Company, the Coca Cola Company and Vanderbilt University. He has had a number of one man shows in galleries in the United States. The artist has been the recipient of significant commissions including an official poster for the 1996 Olympics and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.
Myrtis Bedolla, Curator
Myrtis Bedolla is Gallery Director and President of Galerie Myrtis, LLC Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD; Owner of Creative Artisans Art Consultancy; Consultant of Metropolitan Consulting Corporation; and Consultant of Africare.