Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press

May 4–August 10, 2025

Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press presents 17 artists who capture the personal narratives and political discourses of African Americans across the country, reflecting a collective experience expressed in uniquely individual ways. This powerful exhibition of figurative and abstract artworks channels the poetics of the human experience–from past and present–and boldly presents ideas about history, identity, personal stories, and spiritual inspiration.

The fine art prints in this exhibition were produced at Paulson Fontaine Press in Berkeley, California, an artistic hub in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over 25 years, they have worked with a diverse group of artists, many of whom have never made prints. The process of printmaking is collaborative; artists are not working alone in their studios but with a professionally trained staff who can assist and enhance creative choices on the print plate and, eventually, the print. For most artists, learning to work outside their studio, in another space, and with different processes and materials can be exhilarating, challenging, and eye-opening.

Personal to Political includes a range of artists: from art world giant Martin Puryear, known globally for his elegant abstract sculptural forms, to Lonnie Holley, a self-taught artist who is now a prodigious mixed-media master. The famous abstract patterning of Alabama’s Gee’s Bend quilters have been transformed into prints, making a traditional textile a graphic artform.

Collectively, the artists in Personal to Political confront the personal and public significance of past and current events while working in a variety of media. The artists have taken aesthetic action in making this work, and it reminds us that we can all take action. Artists featured in the exhibition are as follows: Edgar Arceneaux, Radcliffe Bailey, McArthur Binion, Woody De Othello, Gee’s Bend Quilters (Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph, Loretta Bennett, Essie Bendolph Pettway, Loretta Pettway), Lonnie Holley, David Huffman, Samuel Levi Jones, Kerry James Marshall, Martin Puryear, William Scott, Gary Simmons, and Lava Thomas.

Personal to Political is a nationally traveling exhibition organized by Bedford Gallery and curated by Carrie Lederer, former Bedford Gallery curator.

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Platinum Sponsor
Shari and John Hicks

Silver Sponsor
Appleby Foundation
Elaine and Bill Crouse
Judy and Fred Fiala
Huisking Foundation
Mary Ann and John Meyer
John and Charlotte Suhler

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Gallery Didactics for Picking up the Pieces:

Special thanks to the many generous donors who made gifts in memory of Peppi Elona.