(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- It is often said that art inspires more art. That is certainly true for Kelvin and Corrine Slade, father-and-daughter artists featured in SLADE: A Family Affair, an exhibition at The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC, on display from January 26–March 5. Kelvin, who takes photographs of Jazz performers, has an undying love for the musical genre, while Corrine taps into her admiration for Jazz when creating comforting abstract environments in her oil paintings. In celebration of Black History Month, this exhibit portrays the influence that Black music, particularly Jazz, has had on the artists.
“This exhibit will be unique, thought provoking and a wonderful juxtaposition of the mediums of paint and photography,” says Jeremy Moss, curator for The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery. While the Gallery has previously presented an exhibition from sister artists, this is the first time the works of a father and daughter will be displayed side-by-side. While Kelvin’s photographs are often black-and-white, Corrine’s paintings incorporate the entire color wheel. While Jazz has been a springboard for Corrine’s art, the genre is the backbone of Kelvin’s work.
“Jazz is an inspiring force deriving from a place of hope, joy and spirit,” says Kelvin. Many Jazz artists, “have fired up my soul. Thelonious Monk encouraged us to get outside of ourselves and let go of imagined restrictions. Charlie Parker let me know I can soar. Ella Fitzgerald told me the world is full of many possibilities.”
Through his camera lens, Kelvin seeks to “capture just a smidgen” of the meaning behind the music by “humbly preserving a moment of it,” he says. “My response to this refined art is art in and of itself: photography.”
Kelvin’s passion for Jazz rubbed off on Corrine over time.
“Jazz has been a part of my life from the beginning,” says Corrine. “The sounds of Nancy Wilson or John Coltrane were the backdrop to pancakes and grits on a Sunday morning.”
As a child, Corrine thought Jazz was “a cacophonous racket.” In retrospect, the genre molded her artistic practice.
“It was roaring, piercing, crooning, sweltering, jutting and consoling,” she says. “Vibrations of catharsis and spirit. It was all the things that make an ideal painting. Jazz encompasses everything through sound that I seek to convey visually.”
Corrine, who has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, creates dream-like paintings depicting black women. “The spaces I construct are environments of solace that do not exist in this reality,” she says. “Flora and fruit are symbols of abundance, growth and fertility that appear in my work. The growth of the natural world is intrinsically linked to that of the human spirit.”
Their shared affection for Jazz is a key aspect of Kelvin and Corrine’s relationship.
“With each year that passes I feel more of a kinship with the music,” says Corrine. “I wouldn’t be the artist or person I am if my dad didn’t know the wonders of Jazz.”
There will be a free opening reception on Thursday, January 26 from 5:00pm-8:00pm.
The gallery was initiated by beloved SOPAC Board Member Milly Iris. Both Milly and her husband Herb were longtime supporters of SOPAC, avid collectors, and devoted arts advocates. The family legacy continues through the generous support of Herb and Milly’s daughters, Roreé and Kerry, along with The Iris Family Foundation. The Gallery is located on the second and third floors of the South Orange Performing Arts Center. The Gallery is free and open from Monday-Saturday, 12:00pm– 6:00pm.
Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in northern New Jersey. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events, and education programs for all ages. SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
PHOTOS by Kelvin Slade; ARTWORK by Corrine Slade