Drawing from the Lifeline – New & Recent Work by Tyrone Geter


A Black Man’s Burden by Tyrone Geter, multimedia on canvas, 8’x4′

The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Drawing from the Lifeline at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park from January 24 – March 1, 2015, featuring mixed media work by Tyrone Geter. Marking the City Gallery’s first exhibition of 2015, Drawing from the Lifeline assembles a selection of new and recent work by Tyrone Geter curated by Frank McCauley, Chief Curator at the Sumter County Gallery of Art. The exhibition will open with a reception on Friday, January 23 from 5 to 7 pm. In addition, the public is invited to attend an artist’s talk by Tyrone Geter on Saturday, February 21 at 2pm. Both events are free and open to the public.

Tyrone Geter has forged a unique artistic practice spanning multiple media platforms including drawing, painting, and sculpture. His ongoing series entitled “Purgatory Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues” is most often executed with the most basic and humble of mediums, charcoal on paper. These initial compositions are then torn, cut, collaged and layered, creating works that generate a powerful dialogue questioning the slippery and illusive aspects of identity, race, and power in contemporary culture today.

Reprisal by Tyrone Geter, charcoal on torn paper, 8'x4'

Reprisal by Tyrone Geter, charcoal on torn paper, 8’x4′

Using imagery culled from memory and imagination, as well as close observations of everyday life, much of the inspiration for Geter’s work comes from his reactions to, and interpretations of, the events unfolding around him on the personal, as well as on the national and more universal level. He tackles vast emotional and political issues, culling images from events and experiences that he has witnessed himself and through the myriad media outlets available to us today. His immediate surroundings – family members, students, friends and acquaintances often serve as the jumping off point for his visual lexicon.

Whether contoured, cut or pasted, his incremental layering of line produces the evidence of time and labor.  In much of his work, Geter exploits the non-verbal, and communicative power of a plethora of physical characteristics. Facial expressions, and the nuance of line, are tools that Geter uses to explore notions of identity, power and history. His works are emotional, evocative, confounding, and incredibly inspiring, bringing an unassuming medium to the forefront in a powerful and mesmerizing culmination of process, action, and figuration.

About the Artist

Tyrone Geter grew up in Anniston, AL a place where finishing high school was in some circles considered the epitome of higher education. His first art contact was with a childhood friend of his aunt who was attending Miles College, majoring in Art Education. While he never actually witnessed her drawing or painting, what impressed him was the idea that she was an actual college student. At the time, his aunt was the first in the family to attend college.

Rasta by Tyrone Geter, Charcoal and chalk on paper, 12"x 28"

Rasta by Tyrone Geter, Charcoal and chalk on paper, 12″x 28″

After moving with his family to Dayton, OH, Geter graduated from Roosevelt High School as “The Most Outstanding Artist of The Year.” From there, he studied at Ohio University where he left in 1976, armed with a Masters of Fine Arts. After graduation, he moved from Ohio to Boston, MA and spent the next five years in the studio working and learning.  He and his wife, Hauwa, moved from Boston to Zaria, Nigeria in 1979, where he lived and worked for the next seven years, spending most of his time drawing or painting in the villages or learning the culture of the nomadic Fulani tribesman.

After returning to the United States in 1987, Geter taught art at the University of Akron for ten years. In 1997 he moved to Benedict College, where he currently teaches drawing, painting and manages the art gallery. In his art career, he has had the pleasure of illustrating ten children’s books and numerous spreads and book covers, including White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman, Willie Jerome by Alice Faye Duncan, and Sunday Week by Dinah Johnson.

His work has been exhibited at the SC State Museum in Columbia, SC, the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, MA, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH, the Museum for African American Life and Culture in Dallas, TX, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL, the Heffers Gallery in Cambridge, United Kingdom, the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio, the Taft Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, The National Gallery of Modern Art, Federal Department of Culture, in Lagos, Nigeria,  and the Atrium Gallery in New York, NY, among others, and is in permanent and private collections around the world, including the White House.