My Soul Has Grown Deep considers the art-historical significance of contemporary Black artists and quilters working throughout the southeastern United States and Alabama in particular. Their paintings, drawings, mixed-media compositions, sculptures, and textiles include pieces ranging from the profoundly moving assemblages of Thornton Dial to the renowned quilts of Gee’s Bend. Nearly sixty remarkable examples—originally collected by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and donated to The Metropolitan Museum of Art—are illustrated alongside insightful texts that situate them in the history of modernism and the context of the African American experience in the twentieth-century South. This remarkable study simultaneously considers these works on their own merits while making connections to mainstream contemporary art.
Art historians Cheryl Finley, Randall R. Griffey, and Amelia Peck illuminate shared artistic practices, including the novel use of found or salvaged materials and the artists’ interest in improvisational approaches across media. Novelist and essayist Darryl Pinckney provides a thoughtful consideration of the cultural and political history of the American South, during and after the Civil Rights era. These diverse works, described and beautifully illustrated, tell the compelling stories of artists who overcame enormous obstacles to create distinctive and culturally resonant art.
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