Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present its second exhibition of drawings by Frank Calloway, on view from February 9 – March 12, 2011. The show will draw from the artist's output over the last 10 years. Calloway's previous exhibition with the gallery in 2009, Pageants from the Old South, was his first gallery show anywhere.
According to various Alabama state records, Calloway was born in Montgomery some time between 1896 and 1912. The records at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, where he was brought in 1952, state that he was found "wandering and confused." At the time, the 200-acre hospital campus still had its own crops and vegetable gardens, orchards, birds and animals. Calloway worked in the fields and on the grounds. When a federal court banished that practice in 1972, replacing manual labor with arts and crafts, Calloway began to draw with the crayons and markers that were given to him by the staff, who also provided him with long rolls of white butcher paper upon which he began to draw processions of farm animals, working men on their trucks, paddle wheel steamboats, locomotives and trains, and their crews.
His imagery recounts his working life. "I had to do hard work," he explained in a 2008 interview, "digging ditches, cutting logs at the sawmill, hauling lumber." His drawings are the size of murals, ranging from 12 feet to over 60 feet in length. His colors, done for the most part in crayon, are radiant against the stark whiteness of the butcher paper.
Frank Calloway's work has been exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Kentuck Museum (Northport, AL). His work has been reviewed by the New York Times, Artnet Magazine and the Associated Press.