March 16, 2008

Born in Yanceyville, North Carolina, in 1934, Maud Gatewood’s interest in art began at an early age, when, at eleven, she started taking art lessons from Carson Davenport at what was then Averett College in Danville, Virginia. From the prestigious tutelage of Carson Davenport, Gatewood went on to receive her B.A. in Art from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in 1954, having studied under Gregory Ivy in the interim. A year later, she was graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus with an M.A. in Painting. In 1962, Gatewood was awarded a Fulbright Grant to pursue graduate work in Austria, where she studied at the University of Vienna, the Akademie fur Angewandte Kunst, and the International Summer Academy for Painting. In 1999, UNCG awarded Gatewood with an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts.

013gatewood1In 1956, Gatewood began what would become a life-long commitment to teaching art when she became an Art Department Instructor at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. From Huntingdon College, Gatewood went on to teach art at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas and at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she founded the Art Department, before she returned to Danville and became a professor of art at Averett College in 1975. For twenty-two years, Gatewood served in this capacity until her retirement in 1997.

Although dedicated to teaching art, Gatewood continued to paint and draw professionally, becoming an incredibly prolific artist with over 150 solo and group exhibitions featuring her works, including the retrospective, Southern Exposures, displayed at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery at UNCG in 1994, and the exhibit Comings and Goings, which appeared at the Danville Museum when Gatewood retired from Averett in 1997. In 1993, Gatewood’s commissioned piece for Absolut Vodka appeared in USA Today.

Throughout her career, Gatewood was also presented with numerous awards for her artwork, which has been collected by many public and private enterprises, including the National Gallery for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., the National Collection of Fine Arts, and the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts.

On November 8, 2004, having produced some of the most sought-after artwork in North Carolina’s history for fifty-five years, Gatewood died from a stroke. Today, Gatewood remains a beloved figure among southern artists, not only for her important contributions in the production of art and in the education of young artists, but also for her personality and style. As her friend Carolyn Bason Long described her, Gatewood was incredibly straightforward:

"She teases, speaks her mind, is highly intelligent and independent, is loyal, is caring (though tries not to show it), and when she wants to, her keen wit and humor can send shock waves…That’s Maud!"

Gatewood envisioned her masterpieces as being equally frank or forthright in their effect on the viewer, describing her artwork as follows: “The medium is a visual medium and I hope it speaks for itself.”

The Legacy exhibition, which will be displayed in the Jennings Gallery from March 16 to May 11, 2008, will feature a portion of Gatewood’s works that span her career, from some of her student drawings to pieces produced as late as the 1990s. These works include drawings, acrylics on canvas and masonite, oils on canvas, serigraphs, watercolors, wood cutouts, and a very unique walnut sculpture, all of which were bequeathed to the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History in December 2006. Please join us in a celebration of this beloved and incredibly prolific artist and educator.