On August 24, Daniel Minter delivered the annual Stephen May and Kathryn B. Wilson Lecture at the Farnsworth Museum auditorium in Rockland. The annual lecture focuses on the art of the book, past and present.
The Farnsworth collection includes two pieces by Daniel Minter, “A Distant Holla” and “Beneath 8.” His work has been shown extensively, including at the Portland Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College Museum of Art, The David C. Driskell Center, and the Northwest African American Art Museum. In addition to paintings and assemblages, Minter has illustrated numerous children’s books, including Going Down Home with Daddy, which won a 2020 Caldecott Honor award.
The Stephen May and Kathryn B. Wilson Lecture took the form of a conversation with Farnsworth Chief Curator Jaime DeSimone. The conversation centered on Minter’s assemblages, paintings, and illustrations, and stressed the commonality between them all. DeSimone noted that Minter has created a sort of vocabulary, with codes and symbols throughout his work that become recognizable to viewers.
Minter said that working on a canvas or assemblage gives the artist a certain set of problems to solve and a book gives another set of problems to solve, but otherwise his work in the various mediums has much in common. “Most of my work is narrative in nature,” he said. When he works on a book, he first reads the text, and then places himself into the work, inhabiting it. He almost always creates a person who dominates the space on the page, “an archetype, in a way.” Most of his people wear serious, contemplative expressions and hold purposeful poses.
In addition to his artwork, Daniel Minter co-founded Indigo Arts Alliance in Portland with his wife, Marcia Minter. His work was recently in shows at Dowling Walsh Gallery and Center for Maine Contemporary Art, both in Rockland.