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Beverly McIver Art Exhibit: "The Light Within"

A nationally known artist who has been named Top Ten in Painting by Art News, Beverly McIver was working nonstop, teaching classes at Duke, leading workshops all over the country, caregiving for her family, and painting when she could. When Covid hit, along with all of 2020’s racial and political turbulence, McIver’s life changed dramatically. McIver faced the chaos and isolation the only way she knew how—through paint.

It was an intensely productive time. “I painted daily. It was both thrilling and terrifying; all this energy poured into two dozen new paintings,” says McIver. Through a series of self-portraits and paintings of family and friends, McIver confronted her feelings and fears. She created portraits of her sister and her 94-year-old father as a means of remaining intimate even as they all struggled with loneliness and isolation. A colorful silk scarf draped over her head became a mask or a blindfold. Light filtering through blinds in her home beautifully outline her face, yet also suggest prison bars. A heavy black rope figures prominently in many of the new works. “Black friends interpreted the rope wrapped around my head as a noose and white people saw the rope as my dreadlocked hair blowing in the wind. The interpretations of the two worlds I straddle daily, collided.”

“My voice felt loud and unapologetic. I felt power in speaking my truth. I hadn’t been loud enough, and I needed to scream it,“ says McIver. “These new works do just that. I have never felt the need to be so bold about constraints and restrictions. This is the time to be brave.”

The gallery is open with social distancing guidelines in place, and the work is available for viewing online.