|Acquisition Number: 76.11
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 60 1/2" x 45 1/2"
Credit: Purchased by the Canton Museum of Art
with matching funds from The National
Endowment for the Arts
Didactic: Artistic strokes – musical notes – Bright has created work on stage while Winton Marsailles played. Bright told us that Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers were playing live while he created this "Fertility Piece." For all of his paintings, he would feed off of and be an instrument to jazz performers and even feed off of the audience. He would paint until the jazz performers stopped playing and the audience reaction would help him decide which pieces to keep.
An African American born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1940, Bright became interested in art when he was nine years old and pursued it throughout his education. His love of creating art was apparent even at a young age - he repeated the third grade three times because he wouldn't stop drawing. That didn't stop him, however, and he graduated from South High School in 1959, going on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from YSU in 1964 and a Master of Art degree in painting from Kent State University in 1965. He then returned to Youngstown State University and taught for the next 43 years. He met his wife during a fundraising auction when she bid on and won one of his paintings. She was a doctor with an appreciation for art.
In 1970, Bright helped start the African-American Studies program at YSU, one of the first in the state. Over the course of his 18 years as head of the program, several African-American leaders came to Youngstown, including Roots author Alex Haley three times, Jesse Jackson, Maya Angelou and Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president.
The Abstract Expressionist artists William De Kooning, Hans Hoffman and Philip Guston have influenced Bright’s style.
Bright was a painter, but he was also a performer and a musician. This is exemplified in the following statement by Bright: “I live in a world of chaos and order, chaos caused by people, order caused by nature, I paint `ala prima’ to express my life and feelings. Music gives my spirit energy. It moves through me as an aesthetic seizure. Painting to music, especially live music, is moving and thought provoking.”
“My vision expands…
My courage arouses…
The canvas becomes an
extension of my spirit…
Colors explode, I travel
in time…Closure approaches…
I step away”