UNC studio art professor emeritus James Gadson died at his home in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, April 26th. He was 80. Gadson was among the first seven artists that made up the initial stable of Lee Hansley Gallery when it opened in 1993.
Gadson, as most of his students called him, was a native of Allendale, South Carolina. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned his B.F.A. in 1970 and his M.F.A. in 1972 from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was hired to teach printmaking and painting in the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973, a position he held until his retirement in 2001.
Gadson, known for his color field abstract monoprints, was also a painter. A large scale painting by Gadson, a self-portrait of three phases of his life – artist, teacher, musician – was sold by Lee Hansley Gallery to the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2005. The name of the painting is “Images with Whom I’ve Wrestled”. Works by Gadson are also in collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Ackland Art Museum and the North Carolina Central University Museum of Art.
Among the places where his work was exhibited included the Print Club in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Elon College Art Gallery, Guildford College, Rosemont College in Pennsylvania, the Hanes Art Center in Chapel Hill, the Gallery of Art and Design at NC State University, the Ackland Art Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Green Hill Center for North Carolina of Art in Greensboro, Wake Forest University, Virginia Intermont College, the Durham Art Guild, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Southeastern Massachusetts University Gallery and Gallery 10 LTD in Washington D.C.
A private service honoring Gadson will be held in Philadelphia. Contributions may be made in his name to the James Gadson Fund at the UNC Arts and Science Foundation, 523 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, 27614.