The World Of Mr. Imagination
On Friday, October 19, 2012, the Tubman Museum will celebrate the opening of a very special exhibition. Entitled The World of Mr. Imagination, 1948 – 2012, the exhibit features thirty works by the renowned visionary artist known to the world as Mr. Imagination.
Mr. Imagination was born Gregory Warmack in Chicago, Illinois. As a child Warmack rendered religious paintings and signs on pieces of cardboard and rocks. While in his teens and early twenties he carved wood and stone, and made jewelry from cast off objects, which he sold on the streets. In 1978 he was mugged, shot and left to die. During his recovery he had an out of body experience. In it he saw himself as an inheritor of a lineage of kings and artisans that stretched back to ancient Egypt. This vision inspired him to dedicate himself to a new regenerative art for the people. In the late 1970’s he began working on sandstone relief sculptures of the African and Egyptian imagery he had seen during his astral travels. Around 1980 he took on the name Mr. Imagination. A self-taught artist, Mr. Imagination was known for his prolific output. He transformed discarded materials into arresting works of art that could at some times be childlike and playful, and at others serious and ritualistic. He was perhaps best known for incorporating hammered bottle caps into his works.
Beginning in the 1980’s Mr. Imagination showed his work extensively in the Chicago area, but also participated in group and one-person exhibitions across the U.S., in Europe and West Africa. In 2002, after the death of his brother, Mr. Imagination moved from Chicago to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He turned his dwelling there into a studio and community arts center. A house fire in 2008 destroyed the majority of his art, and took the lives of his beloved pets. After this tragedy, Mr. Imagination moved once again, this time to Atlanta, Georgia seeking a fresh start.
In 2009 Mr. Imagination settled in Atlanta, in the Riverside neighborhood near Vinings. Once again he turned his home into his studio, and set about making new work, incorporating the salvaged remains of his burned works into new sculptures. In 2011 he had his first solo show in Atlanta at the Barbara Archer Gallery. The following year, shortly after committing to show works at the Tubman, Mr. Imagination suddenly fell ill and died. With the support of his surviving family, the works for this exhibition were chosen posthumously from the artist’s Riverside home.
The opening reception for this exhibition will be at the Tubman Museum, from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. The World of Mr. Imagination will remain on exhibit at the Tubman through January 5, 2013. Admission to this event is Free for Museum Members, $8.00 for the General Public. Contact the Museum (478-743-8544, www.tubmanmuseum.com) for more information about this and other programs.
Images from the exhibition opening reception for The Ceremony