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Charlotte Riley-Webb's Sunday evening exhibit opening well-received

Charlotte Riley-Webb, a renowned artist known for her bold figurative artwork, took center stage when her latest exhibition was unveiled for the first time at the Hammond's House Museum Sunday evening.


The Atlanta native is known for the fluidity in her strokes, vibrant color schemes and bold themes; but her latest series Still Lines Running Through My Head is perhaps her most creatively ambitious work to date. In the exhibit, the artist combines the illusory of abstract with the concreteness of the figurative meshing them masterfully together on canvas. "No Crystal Stair," which was unveiled Sunday, is a chapter in the Still Lines Running Through My Head series.


Riley-Webb said her latest work highlights a simpler time in our history. "They (the pieces) are about survival, struggle and the resilience of a people," she said.


Indeed, growing up reading James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright while also memorizing authors Nikki Giovanni and Ntozake Shange, Riley-Webb adds, "I directly relate to Nikki-Rosa, a poem by Giovanni that said a lot of things to me. She said the things I could not say. I remember the old Motown songs. And Ntozake's For Colored Girls, I remember reading the original book which inspired my piece Now You Water It Your Damn Self."


Riley-Webb explains that the "lines" in her title for the series is a metaphor for the idioms and expressions of the influences over the course of her life. She believes continual growth as an artist is necessary.


"I have a need and desire to continue to grow while I am creating," Riley-Webb said Sunday. "Often I will seek out people teaching different mediums that I may not have prior experience with to advance my work." Hence her journey began in the abstract arena in 2005 with her first abstract series known as Earth Tunes, based on the natural pastels of the Earth's palette.


With awards such as the Hampton Arts Commission Award of Excellence, The People's Choice Purchase Award and earning a 2010 NAACP Image Award for her illustration contribution to "Our Children Can Soar". Riley-Webb has earned her reputation as a pillar in the Atlanta art community.


"When asked of my legacy", I would like to see our next generation retain and return to a relevant art form. Not disrecard or discredit the hard work that has been laid as a solid foundation. When people view my work years from now, I want them to realize that the work that I have done reflects my understanding of "Why The Caged Bird Sings". With its' wings clipped and its' feet bound, it sings of hope and freedom; it sings of a dream that tomorrow will be a brighter day because, after all... joy comes in the morning. That's what my art means to me.


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