Visual Jazz: Digital Imagery by James Biggers opens Jan. 16

New exhibition by Gastonia artist evokes spirit of Harlem Renaissance Era

Inspired by the music of jazz giants Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, North Carolina artist James Biggers depicts visual rhythm through colors, shapes and forms in his new collection of work on exhibition at Hickory Museum of Art, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Visual Jazz: Digital Imagery by James Biggers will run Jan. 16 – April 10, 2016 in the Museum’s Regal and Gifford galleries.

Biggers, a native of Gastonia, N.C., describes his most recent body of work – which includes digitally manipulated photographs – as an extension of the Harlem Renaissance Era. He is the nephew of artist John Biggers, an African-American muralist who came to prominence after the Harlem Renaissance and toward the end of World War II.

Visual Jazz is part of the Museum’s tribute to the 1920s Harlem Renaissance – a time of racial pride in music, literature and the visual arts. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with another new exhibition at Hickory Museum of Art – Tribute to the Harlem Renaissance: Works from the Permanent Collection, which opens in the Windows Gallery on Feb. 6. See works from artists influenced by this important movement, including Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Sharif Bey, Juie Rattley, III, Kara Walker and more.

A special program – Tribute to the Harlem Renaissance – will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Salt Block Auditorium, 243 Third Ave. N.E., Hickory. Program includes a screening of the film Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Admission is free and open to the public.

About James Biggers

James Biggers was born in Gastonia, N.C., in 1948. He graduated from Highland High School in Gastonia, before going on to earn a B.A. in Art Education from North Carolina Central University, and a M.A. in Art Education from Appalachian State University.

Biggers taught art in the Gaston County School System for 30 years before retiring in 2000. He has also served an adjunct professor at a number of universities and community colleges in the region, and led numerous workshops.

Biggers has been exhibiting his art work at museums, galleries and cultural centers since 1968. He has been commissioned to create numerous murals, including his work “North Carolina Belongs to Children” at the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh. Biggers has earned arts and education awards through his career, and is being honored with the Gaston County MLK Unity Award on Jan. 19.