Mike Howard's painting of Rosa Parks seated on a Montgomery city bus is among the historical depictions included in the upcoming exhibit.
An exhibit of paintings by Alabama native Mike Howard depicting significant moments in Alabama’s history will open Aug. 12 at Troy University’s International Arts Center.
“Mike Howard: Pivotal Moments in Alabama History,” which will run through Oct. 20 and include an artist reception and talk from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 13, feature large-canvas depictions of three key events – marchers crossing Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, Rosa Parks seated on a Montgomery city bus and the assassination of Alabama Attorney General Albert Patterson in Phenix City. The exhibit is endorsed by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and is free and open to the public.
“Mike Howard’s artwork offers a unique platform for discussion surrounding Alabama history, civics and the Civil Rights Movement– pulling together a conversation about our past and how it applies to what we face in current day situations, all inspired through Howard’s captivating fast strokes and dripping paint,” said Carrie Jaxon, curator of TROY’s International Arts Center.
Howard grew up in Phenix City before moving to New York City in the early 1970s. Howard is an Expressionist artist who was influenced by the 1960s avant-garde movement known as Fluxus. The movement combined many artistic elements, ranging from traditional paintings to Performance Art. His early years working alongside minimalist sculptor Donald Judd would also prove influential to Howard’s artistic path.
After serving as a machine gunner in the U.S. Marine Corps, Howard attended the University of Georgia from 1968 to 1971. During his studies he was accepted into the coveted Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York City. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Art from Columbus College in 1972 and received his Master of Fine Arts from New York’s Rutgers University in 1974.
Howard’s works have been exhibited throughout the United States, from Hurtsboro, Alabama to New York City. Notable exhibitions include P.S. 1 in Brooklyn, the High Museum in Atlanta and Jason Rubell Gallery in Miami, where a large portion of his collection resides permanently with the Rubell family. His work has also been a part of exhibits in Canada and has appeared in the pages of Italian Vogue. Many of his more recent works capture historical moments and scenes of tragic deaths on large canvases. He splits his time among Brooklyn, Hurtsboro, Ala. and Columbus, Ga.
Located on the University’s Troy Campus, the International Arts Center seeks to promote artistic enlightenment, cultural exchange and personal well-being for the Troy University community and beyond through University initiatives and collaborative partnerships, both local and international.