Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship

Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship

Fellow: Awarded 1996
Field of Study: Fine Arts

Competition: US & Canada

Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship, painter, was born in Rome, Georgia. The content of most of her work comes from growing up in the Deep South with its long hot summer days, poverty, racial, religious, and class distinctions and yes, too, the warmth and love of teachers, books, and red clay: “Beating rhythms and ‘shadow puppets’ on window shades at night from Holy Rollers who lived across the street was the Art I knew and linked to the art I do today. William Faulkner said the only thing worth writing about is the heart in conflict with itself. My father’s pawnshop, my mother’s garden, the black women who raised me and the prejudices of a closed society are the stuff of which my art is made.”

She received her B.F.A. from the Atlanta College of Art and M.F.A. from Pratt Institute.

After she received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, was given a Richard Florsheim Art Fund Grant to acquire an eighteen-foot work composed of two hundred and seven paintings in grid formation. Prior to her Guggenheim Fellowship, Ms. Yalovitz-Blankenship was a Painting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (formerly Bunting Institute) and received four awards in Painting and Drawing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She taught at the Atlanta College of Art and Georgia State University. In Boston she has been a guest instructor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts College of Art, and Simmons College. She has served in the Mentor Programs at the Art Institute of Boston and Radcliffe.

Ms. Yalovitz-Blankenship has shown her work in over one hundred exhibitions including twenty-six solo shows. Curatorial work includes the September 11 Scholarship Fund Exhibition at the Radcliffe Institute and co-curator for Image/Text at G.A.S.P., honored with poems about her paintings by Maxine Kumin and Rosanna Warren.

Permanent collections include the Boston Athenaeum; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Boston Public Library; Boston University; Children’s Hospital, Boston; Danforth Museum of Art; deCordova Museum; Georgia State Art Collection; High Museum of Art; Oakleigh Collection, Boston; Harvard University; Installation at Logan Airport, Terminal A, Boston; Simmons College; Telfair Museum of Art; corporate and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. Her poem “Georgia Moon” will be published in POIESIS: A Journal of the Arts and Communication in June 2011

Nine Houses, nine matted archival pigment prints by Ms. Yalovitz-Blankenship, has just been published by Tahawus Press. The prints are housed in a clothbound boxed folio, limited to an edition of fifty, and are accompanied by text or poetry, written in response to the images, by Alan Lightman, Maxine Kumin, Florence Ladd, John Baeder, Elizabeth McKim, and fellow Guggenheim Fellows Morris Halle (1960), Philip Levine (1973, 1980), Ann Patchett (1995), and Richard Wendorf (1988). The edition was printed by Paula Boswell of Color Services LLC. 
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In a statement while spending a summer in Manhattan, Ms. Yalovitz-Blankenship wrote:

As I See It Now

Tough times are putting me back into the ‘expressionist’ mode. The world as I have known it has changed. Change always occurs in our existence but never at so fast a pace … for the natural world, animal kingdom … the ‘human animal’ included.

As I walk down city streets in Manhattan, through masses of humanity, detritus, I see scrawls and scribbles, tearing on planes of buildings, sidewalks. They have color, character, but I look at them differently today. The images are unclear, dissected; the words are illegible. I search to find their meaning.

On our planet the clouds express themselves with scrawled messages, too; the seas do it in their turbulent waves; the wind hurls rain and snow … I am not alone. Lightning strikes, thunder growls, the earth quivers and shakes with anger … I am not alone.

These painting, scraping, tearing and reshaping, graffiti-like messages in my psyche are a response to the current world. The dark side is here but the light is with us in color. Color is the symbol of hope. What visual statements will come from this thinking? I shall have to wait and see …


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