Avis Robinson

Visual artist best known for her paintings and abstract quilts that explore America’s deep-seated, often unacknowledged tensions over race, gender, oppression and history. Her work portrays, both directly and metaphorically, the richness of African American life and the deep, layered meanings of a simple word: soul. Her portraits invite the viewer to look into her subjects’ souls and experience our common humanity. Her quilted fabric works are imbued not just with striking color and form but with history and emotion as well. Using the rich traditions of African American quilt making as a foundation, she has developed a new visual language — sometimes with deceptive simplicity masking great complexity, sometimes so jam-packed with energy that the pieces of fabric almost seem to be in motion, always overflowing with soul. Like W.E.B. Du Bois, she uses the concept of soul to convey the universal nature of the human struggle — joys and sorrows, the satisfaction of accomplishment, the comfort of family and the persistent resonance of history.

EXHIBITIONS AND COMMISSIONS
University of California at Davis – “African American Quilts” – 2009
The Studios of Key West – “Please Remember Me” – 2013
Lynchburg, Virginia – “Lives and Loves” – 2014
The Studios of Key West – “Fabric of the Soul” – 2017
Justice Ruth B. Ginsburg – “RBG Collar” – 2020
U.S. Arts in Embassies Program – “John Lewis” – 2022

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Ford’s Theatre, Washington, D.C. – “Mr. Lincoln” – painting – 2012. Permanently installed as the only image of Lincoln in the lobby of the theater where he was shot.
Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies – “Piano Keys” – quilted fabric piece – 2014. Permanently installed in main lobby of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations building in New York.
Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies – “Funky Flag” – quilted fabric piece – 2014. Permanently installed in U.S. Embassy annex building, Moscow.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture – “Sharecropper’s Masterpiece” – quilted fabric piece – 2014.
Claflin University – “Black Men Building Claflin – painting – 2016. Permanently installed in main administration building outside the office of the president.
Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies – “Ode to the Civil War Soldier” – quilted fabric piece – 2020. Installed in the U.S. Embassy, London.

RESIDENCY
The Studios of Key West – 2015-2017.

PHILANTHROPY
Washington Metropolitan Scholars, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

ACHIEVEMENTS

Arlington Public Schools – Historic Civil Rights Trail – 2017
Designed a project to commemorate racial desegregation by tracing the pathway taken by the first four Black students to integrate a public school in the state of Virginia.

EDUCATION
Harvard University, Master’s Degree. Emphasis: Economics and Public Policy
Golden Gate University, Master’s Degree. Emphasis: Financial Management
University of Maryland, Bachelor of Arts. Emphasis: Law and Economics

REPRESENTATION
Craig F. Starr Gallery, New York, New York

Artist provided 20 april 2022

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