Pyramid Atlantic Art Center Presents Imar Hutchins INHERITANCE

By East City Art Editorial Team on September 4, 2019

Fri, September 6 2019 — Sun, October 6 2019

Imar Hutchins, Banna-Ka [Benjamin Banneker], Acrylic and Collage on Canvas 2019. Courtesy of Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.
Opening Reception: Friday, September 6 from 6:30pm to 9pm

Artist Talk: Friday, September 13 from 7pm to 8:30pm

Artist Imar Hutchins exhibits six of his larger-than-life portrait collages in INHERITANCE. Each work measures 6 feet tall and 4.5 feet wide with subjects ranging from the artist’s mother to the late musician, Prince. The works combine screenprinting, collage, and painting, resulting in intensely detailed and colorful depictions of these figures: some iconic in pop culture and some iconic to the artist himself.

INHERITANCE is curated by Zoma Wallace and runs September 6 through October 6, 2019. An artist talk will take place on Friday, September 13 from 7 – 8:30 pm.

“All inheritance is not financial. All inheritance is not physical. And we can inherit from people who are not our direct ancestors. I would challenge people to think more broadly about inheritance. People, like the ones I depict, all have things to give us if we can receive them. They have lessons to teach us, but we need to be open to receiving that inheritance,” remarks Hutchins.

Much of Hutchins’ work is commission-based with a specified subject. However, Hutchins is selective about who he tackles. “I won’t do anyone’s portrait unless they are intergalactic…vibrating on a high frequency with something to share with us, with the world.” Once the figure is chosen, Hutchins begins researching his subject, which can take up to a year. “I need to be able to add something to the conversation, especially for someone who has been depicted a lot. What is it that people are missing about this person?”

Hutchins does everything himself when making a work, including milling the wood for his frames. The entire piece is imbued with intentionality from the beginning. “I want to be responsible for the whole thing. People feel it, whether it’s conscious or subconscious. You can tell when someone has put a lot of love in something.”

INHERITANCE is a rare opportunity to see multiple pieces by Hutchins in a single space. The exhibition will travel to the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky before all the works move on to their patrons, including private collectors and public institutions—such as the University of Kentucky, which commissioned a portrait of Hutchins’ grandfather who brought about the University’s integration 70years ago. Upon close inspection, viewers see that Hutchins has reproduced and collaged the hate mail sent to his grandfather in this piece, turning many small works of hate into one large work of love.

In addition to the large-scale canvases, Hutchins has created a limited edition screenprint based on his James Baldwin collage that will also be on view and available for sale at Pyramid. The Baldwin print is in honor of what would have been Baldwin’s 95th birthday this month. Hutchins selects only 1 or 2 of his collages a year to re-work into a print.  “I love that kind of iconic poster art look, and each of my prints is really its own work, inspired by, but separate from, the collage. The basic shape will be the same, but the print design consists solely of areas of color.  In some ways the prints are simplified versions of the larger pieces…all my work is …all my work is trying to be simple and at the same time evocative.”

Hutchins is a self-taught artist based in Washington, D.C. He is owner of DC’s iconic Florida Avenue Grill and was lawyer until about 5 years ago when he grew his artistic practice to a full time commitment. Hutchins works primarily in collage, mixed media and printmaking. His portraits combine vintage Black magazines, hate mail and other historical documents as well as found objects, tissue paper and new materials. He imagines that people themselves are collages.

This exhibition is made possible in part through funding from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County.

Gallery hours:

  • Tuesday through Saturday: 10 am6 pm 
  • Sunday: 125 pm 

The exhibition, reception, and artist talk are FREE and open to the public.

Pyramid Atlantic is located at 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville Maryland 20781. More information can be found at or by calling 301-608-9101.