Winfred Rembert
American, b. 1945
Cotton Field Rows
dye on carved and tooled leather, 2009
38 x 30 inches
Collection of Jan and Warren Adelson

Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace

January 27, 2013 - March 17, 2013

Hodge Galleries

In more than 40 works on tooled leather—stretched, stained, and etched—Winfred Rembert constructs scenes from the rural southern town in Georgia, where he was born and raised, and peoples it with characters working the fields, joyous at church meetings, and enjoying its pool hall, jazz club, and café. His images are alive with figures and color, and dense with pattern. Some, more somber, convey the strife and grief of his own experiences of a near lynching and prison life.  

Growing up in the South in the 1950s, Rembert did backbreaking labor in the cotton fields. As a young man, he was arrested during a 1960s civil rights march and survived a near lynching. While serving a seven-year sentence, he learned to make pattern and design on leather by watching a fellow inmate make tooled leather wallets. Years later, adding color to tanned leather, Rembert depicted moments from his life and conjured a world of incredible brutality and close personal ties. The exhibition's riveting themes include his Cotton Field series, where cotton balls snake relentlessly through rows of toiling field hands: Rembert said, "Curved [cotton] rows make a beautiful pattern. But as soon as you start picking, you forget how good it looks and think how hard it is. There just isn't anything you can say about cotton that is good."  

Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace is the first major museum exhibition dedicated to this remarkable mid-career, self-taught artist. This exhibition emphasizes the dramatic, overtly biographical nature of Rembert's work, combining artistic inspiration with documentation of some of the most tumultuous moments of Civil Rights-era history.

Organized by the Hudson River Museum

This exhibition is sponsored by


From the Exhibition

  • Winfred Rembert, American, b. 1945, Egg: Jazz Dancing, dye on carved and tooled leather, 2008, 29 1/4 x 35 1/4 inches. Courtesy of Adelson Galleries, NY

  • Winfred Rembert, American, b. 1945, All Me II, 2002, dye on carved and tooled leather, 31 1/2 x 37 3/4 inches. Collection of artist

  • Winfred Rembert, American, b. 1945, Flour Bread, 2003, dye on carved and tooled leather, 25 5/8 x 34 3/4 inches. Courtesy of Adelson Galleries, NY

  • Winfred Rembert, American, b. 1945, Homer Clyde's Café, 2008, dye on carved and tooled leather, 23 3/4 x 34 1/2 inches. Collection of the artist

  • Winfred Rembert, American, b. 1945, Chain Gang Picking Cotton, 2004, dye on carved and tooled leather, 47 x 32 inches
    Courtesy of Adelson Galleries, NY