The Peninsula Gallery Presents
Dane Tilghman Solo Exhibition
African American Life in the Delaware Region During the 19th & 20th Centuries
Showing February 13th - March 27th
We are elated to welcome back Dane Tilghman for a solo exhibition in celebration of Black History Month. Tilghman is known for his paintings of historical African American culture in explosive color and an impressionistic style. The display of 57 paintings highlights the black community in and around Delaware during the 19th and 20th centuries with images of working-class farmers and watermen, domestic life, and the music scene that have helped form the region in which we live today.
Dane Tilghman hails from West Chester, PA and took an interest in art-making at a very young age. He remembers watching his older brother draw and wanting to follow along. Dane honed his abilities throughout grade school and high school by taking specialty art courses. His parents were tremendously supportive of his creative endeavors…as long as a career in the arts would pay the bills one day. After graduating from Kutztown University, where he studied graphic arts, Dane rigorously pursued his true passion for painting. The distinct style that Tilghman has come to be known for can be recognized through his use of abstraction, dramatic impasto, flamboyant colors, and manipulated proportions. He works primarily in acrylics that allow him to pile layer upon layer of paint, creating mounds of texture and dimension.
Though Tilghman grew up in Pennsylvania, his ancestors are from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As an African American man, he has combined his personal background, artistic talent, and interest in history, to share stories about the contribution that people of color have made in developing the Delmarva area. He states, “The working people were the backbone of this community. Black people played just as big a role as anybody else in the life blood of Lewes, Delaware.” Many paintings in the exhibition portray working-class farmers, field workers, and menhaden and oyster fishermen. Some are inspired by archival photographs of the Lewes fishing industry found at the Lewes Historical Society. Others depict domestic life through every-day chores, family togetherness, religious practices and front-porch-banjo-picking. Dane typically references historic photos for subject matter. He often struggles to find specific materials because black history was so poorly documented during times when extremely limited resources were made available to African American people.
Another section of this show is dedicated to the local Blues and Jazz scene. Big-time musicians would perform at a local venue called the Happy Day Club. During segregation, the club was a safe and affordable space where black people could enjoy live music by well-known performers who were traveling between major cities. This exhibition features many portraits of these famous faces.
Dane Tilghman’s most prominent theme is community. This collection shows how communal living has been imperative for African American people. Dane aims to remind his viewers about the importance of a caring society for people of all color and creed, not only in history, but in the present and future.
Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday 11 am - 3 pm
*Framing Consultations Wed.-Sat. Only