Melvin Edwards: Powerful Sculpture in 2-D for the Ford Foundation

Posted on August 08, 2017 by Alison Pierz

It’s not everyday that Frames and Stretchers gets to frame the work of a well-known contemporary sculptor. The Ford Foundation brought us yet another exceptional artwork this time from Melvin “Mel” Edwards. As with other Ford Foundation art we framed the work, "Searching for the Balance", using a prime float technique - handmade mulberry paper hinges applied with rice paste to archival museum board. The look was completed with a black hardwood maple moulding. This large intricate handmade work is part of a group of paper pieces that Edwards has been producing along with his sculpture since the 1970s. The handmade paper background is embedded with the cut-out black tools and other figures. 

Mel Edwards steel tools welding art print African American artist Ford FoundationMelvin Edwards' hand made paper work "Searching for the Balance" framed in the studio

Mel Edwards was born in 1937 in Houston Texas. He had his first one-person show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1965 and has since been honored with more than a dozen solo exhibitions and dozens of group shows. He has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the L. A. County Museum and the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. His long and successful career includes having his works represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the L. A. County Museum among others. 

Melvin Edwards steel sculpture tools African American artistEdwards' sculpture, "Steel Life" 1985-1991, showing his use of tools as materials (image courtesy of the artist's website)

His numerous awards include a Fulbright Scholarship to Zimbabwe and he currently spends several months each year working as a sculptor in Senegal. His art is heavily influenced by his African American heritage and he some of his best know works include his ongoing “Lynch Fragments” series of small scale relief sculptures. His style is semi-abstract and draws from the western Modernist tradition of welded steel. Edwards employs a variety of metal objects including hammers, scissors, locks, chains and railroad spikes for his raw material. Many of the works on paper, like the one here, illustrate these objects. When not in Africa he is based in New York City.

Melvin Edwards Mel Edwards 1960s art contemporary steel sculpture artist in studio

Edwards as  young artist in the 60s with his relief sculpture and more recently in his studio (images courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates)

The Frames and Stretchers team is thrilled with our ongoing association with the Ford Foundation and many other stellar clients. If you find yourself on the Lower East Side, please stop by our studio for a visit to see what we do first hand!

Posted in #art print, #Ford Foundation, #Mel Edwards, #Melvin Edwards