Maceo Leatherwood is a dedicated and disciplined explorer of world cultures, myths and art history. In his work, he captures the energy of life and form. His observations, imagination and scientific knowledge of the sun, the vast ocean of space and the life-giving ocean on earth play an important role in his paintings.Having engaged subjects as diverse as human rights, ancestral connections, music and spirituality in nature, his work is steeped in symbolism.
Maceo’s approach to drawing and painting is long on thought but quick in execution. His method is a process, spending time in research and contemplation before beginning a project. His drawing style is akin to the ancient art of rapid writing (tachygraphy). Similarly, he paints in a form akin to action painting or tachism. His work includes mixed media, acrylic paintings, ink and watercolor drawings, terra cottas and limited edition prints.
He is first and foremost inspired by the people he loves, everything he sees, feels and experiences. His influences include Matisse, Fran Marc, the Blue Reiters , Bob Thompson, Catholicism, Hopi and Zuni kachina, New York Ash Can, Mustangs, Black Renaissance, Abstract Expressionism, Asian Shu-Sho brushwork, Paliminos, Zebras, Ukiyo-e prints, Motherwell, Bacon, Fritz Scholder, T.C. Cannon, and Kevin Red Star.
To date, Maceo has created several art series which include: Landscapes of the Caribbean Islands; Impasto Impressions; Solar Flares and Aquatic Flow; Terra Cotta Sculptures; Dance and The Energy of Music; East-West Influences; Abstract Expressions; and SUNSHU-sholuettes.
A native Washingtonian, Maceo began drawing and painting at an early age. His formal study of art was at The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design (originally the Corcoran School of Art). A former sailor and artist with the U.S. Navy, Maceo served as the Art Director at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center.
His art career has encompassed education, publications, design layout, sculpture, sketching, painting and cartoons. He has lectured in Washington Metropolitan area schools, supervised arts programs and directed community arts projects.
ACCEPTED INTO SMITHSONIAN
In June 2010, Maceo Leatherwood's work entitled "Mo' Pak" was accepted into the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian's permanent collection.
Mo' Pak, is also featured as one of 75 illustrations in IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas.
IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas edited by Gabrielle Tayac, features 27 essays from authors sharing first person accounts of struggle, adaptation and survival concerning a dual heritage that is often ignored.
The book explores diverse subjects such as Taino-African intersections, the Cherokee Freedmen issue and the evolution of jazz and blues.
The book is available in Smithsonian museum stores, through the bookshop section of the museum’s web site and on Amazon.
A corresponding exhibition, “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas” toured the US. A press release from museum representatives states “the exhibit sheds light on the dynamics of race, community, culture, and creativity, and addresses the human desires of being and belonging.”
EXHIBIT: Beyond the Blues
February 6 – 28, 2016, Maceo will participate in the “Beyond the Blues” sponsored by Columbia Art Center Galleries and Columbia Festival of the Arts. The exhibition showcases works inspired by or reflecting African American music and culture.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6: Columbia Festival of the Arts Ticketed Event ($15)
Art preview, 6-7pm
Concert with blues guitarist Samuel James, 7-8:30pm
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 6-8PM: Columbia Art Center free meet-the-artist reception
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 7-8PM: “Sounds Good” featuring saxophonist Bob Jacobson and guitarist Tom Lucas
The Columbia Art Center is located at 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045.
RETROSPECTIVE: Reflections on Family, Life & Culture
On March 18, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, the Bain Center’s Enjoying the Arts program will host “Maceo Leatherwood: Reflections on Family, Life & Culture” a retrospective on his work produced by his daughter, poet, Vanita Leatherwood.
The Bain Center is located at 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia, MD 21044.