Monday, October 12, 2015

Maud Gatewood: Southern Artist

Maud Gatewood's senior yearbook photograph, 1954
Maud Gatewood was born and raised in Yanceyville, North Carolina. Her mother encouraged her to take drawing classes at Averett College in Danville, Virginia. Her sketchbooks show dozens of drawing of her mother. Mostly, seated and probably drawn while the subject was unaware. Maud spent her youth drawing and sketching and in 1950 (at the tender age of 16), she came to UNCG. In 1954, she graduated from Woman’s College (now UNCG) with a Bachelor of Art in Art. She earned her Master of Arts degree from Ohio State University in 1955. Gatewood then spent the next several years teaching in Alabama, then Texas before earning a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria from 1962-1963. 1964 marked her return to the state with a position at UNC Charlotte teaching in the Creative Arts Department, where she taught for the next nine years. She was instrumental in developing the Creative Arts Department at UNCC. In 1975 she returned to Averett College, this time as a Professor in the Art Department where she worked for the next 20 years.

Gatewood passed away in 2004 from complications after a stroke. She received many awards and recognitions throughout her life, including first place awards in North Carolina Artists’ annual competitions, a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, the Governor’s North Carolina Award in Fine Arts (1984), and the UNCG Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.  She received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from UNCG in 1999, where she was touted for her “uncommon artistic talents, [her] significant achievements as a daughter of the University, and for [her] dedication to the spirit of public service which [her] alma mater so steadfastly values.”

Gatewood was well known for saying little about her own paintings.  In a 1968 Charlotte News article, she stated, “I’ve got almost nothing to say.  I just paint pictures."  When asked about the subject matter of her art, she said, “What I’m trying to paint are relationships, formal relationships: light and color and forms.  There might be messages, but I think a lot of times painters know less about what their painting says than anybody else.”

Special Collections and University Archives has the Maud Gatewood Collection, which contains professional activities, correspondence, subject files, sketches, and sketchbooks.  Maud drew extensively, capturing the scenes and people around her as well as plotting out future paintings.  The sketches that would become paintings are recognizable by their placement within a sketched square box, like these sketches:
Preliminary drawing for Consuming Cause, c. 1990

Preliminary drawing for Ugly Saturday, c. 1989

An exhibit, Maud Gatewood: Sketches, is currently on display in the Hodges Reading Room of Jackson Library.  This exhibit is a part of the Maud Gatewood Trail, a series of exhibits of Maud Gatewood’s paintings across North Carolina and Virginia.  This Fall, eighteen sites will be mounting exhibits of Gatewood paintings.  More information can be found in this brochure:

This post is one in a series focused on the 2015 North Carolina Archives Month theme "Celebrating Archives: North Carolina Arts, Crafts, and Music Traditions." North Carolina Archives Month, celebrated each October, is an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities, and people.

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