The largest exhibition of Robert Paige’s work to date, The United Colors of Robert Earl Paige, surveys the iconic textile designs and painted fabric of one of the most generative artists/designers from the South Side of Chicago. In addition to the fabric work made over the past sixty years, the exhibition will debut recent clay, wall/floor paintings, drawings, and collage work made during his Radicle Residency at Hyde Park Art Center in 2022-23.
The exhibition, corresponding public program and upcoming catalog is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities.
Robert Paige approaches art and craft as a joyful choreography between practical invention and material research. The fluid lines, intense colors, repeating circles and simple balance found in modernist paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Sandra Delaunay, and Maholy Nagy for example, are equally as influential to Paige’s style as the tight basket weaving techniques and symbology of West African cultures, the textured ripples on tree bark, and the unfettered improvisations of the Chicago jazz powerhouse the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Raised in the Woodlawn neighborhood, where he still resides, Paige makes artworks in response to the patterns, colors, and materials of everyday Black life. Paige playfully challenges the art/craft continuum in his hand-dyed textiles, cardboard collages, and ceramic tiles to encourage mental and physical liberation for all.