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Feels like Freedom: Phillip J. Hampton
On view through January 29, 2023
Telfair Museums
Savannah, Georgia

The first large-scale museum retrospective of American painter Phillip J. Hampton (1922–2016), “Feels like Freedom,” traces Hampton’s incredible and innovative artistic production from illustrative realism to abstract experimentation. For 17 years, between 1952 and 1969, Hampton served as an influential visual arts professor and eventual department head at Savannah State College, today known as Savannah State University. He was also vital to the local arts community, including his organization of the first exhibition of African American art at the Telfair Academy in 1959.

This exhibition considers Hampton’s impact alongside and as part of the broader context of African American artmaking in the mid-20th century. Beginning with his social realist drawings and paintings created in Savannah, viewers will be captivated by the artist’s creative evolution toward the freedom and self-discovery he found in abstraction. His innovative spirit is showcased and celebrated through his use of experimental mediums including string gridwork, acrylic emulsions, and shaped canvases.

[Image: Phillip J. Hampton (American, 1922-2016). Feels like Freedom, 1977. Watercolor, acrylic, and elements of collage on Rives B.F.K. paper, 25 x 35 inches. Collection of James and Brenda Rivers]