Oakton’s art exhibit highlights Black history themes, Feb. 2 - March 24

Oakton honors Black History Month by featuring a contemporary artist and current themes, including police brutality.
Des Plaines, Ill. (Jan. 25, 2023) – The public is invited to view Hubert Neal Jr.’s paintings during “Untenable,” an upcoming free art exhibit at Oakton College’s Des Plaines campus. Known for his “Black & Blue” series, which addresses police brutality, Neal casts a wider net and uses his unique style to capture problematic events at home and abroad which have become “untenable.”

“In recent years, the Koehnline Museum of Art produced a series of exhibits celebrating African American history and legacy. The topics of the paintings in this year’s exhibit reflect Neal’s deep involvement in current social-political events,” said Nathan Harpaz, manager and curator of Oakton’s Koehnline Museum of Art.

Several paintings in “Untenable” address brutality against African Americans, while others deal with women’s rights, immigration injustice, the debate on wearing masks during the pandemic, political unrest and addiction to social media.

Neal grew up in Chicago, where his parents emigrated from Belize. From as far back as he can remember, his favorite activities were reading and drawing. He has long strived to become a more technically proficient artist, but decided he could do more and now uses his art to address social issues.

“Artists have power; the power to reveal, the power to influence and the power to inspire. I use my art to address social issues and the human condition,” said Neal.

Neal’s flat figures, bold colors and blank backgrounds evoke a sense of cartoonish images that contrast dramatically with his paintings' somber themes. His silhouette-like figures on blank backgrounds echo ancient murals and transform his work into an archetypal level.

The free exhibit runs from Feb. 2 to March 24 at Oakton's Koehnline Museum of Art, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines, Ill. A public reception for the artist will be held at the Museum Thursday, Feb. 2, 5-8 p.m.

For more information about the Koehline Museum of Art and its exhibits, please visit https://www.oakton.edu/about/koehnline-museum-of-art. The Museum is open Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For special visits, call 847.635.2633.