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Ross Gallery Presents Exhibitions by Roger Allan Cleaves and CBU Alumni

MEMPHIS — The Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery at Christian Brothers University announces new exhibitions opening on September 28. “Breaking Ground” by Roger Allan Cleaves will be on display in the main gallery, and a selection works by of six CBU Art Alumni will be shown in the gallery foyer. A public reception for the artists will be held on Friday, October 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Both shows will be on exhibition through October 24.

Roger Allan Cleaves uses fictional writing in tandem with painting to craft American epics that discuss underexplored themes relating to people of color and minorities. He is best known for his colorful and imaginative paintings that display multifaceted humanoid forms that exist in created worlds that serve as counterparts to contemporary society. His works make use of symbols, icons, and a language he coined as “Afroglypics” that are gleaned from the history of African relics from the past. He is much aligned with the contemporary movement known as Afrofutrism.

“American epics that unleash creative ingenuity and illuminate a futuristic vision from the viewpoint of minorities is an underexplored theme in our finest art venues,” Cleaves says. “I question why race, politics, and contemporary social issues seem to be only discussed inside a box of redundant visual motifs inside our forums for art. Feeling bored with the previously mentioned acquiescent concepts for social hot topics, my studio practice involves a personal challenge to explore creative and adventurous lines of thought in an effort to create something that is unique.”

Cleaves holds a BFA from the University of Memphis and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin. His work has been selected for inclusion by curators for exhibitions and international painting and drawing publications. Cleaves received a state grant from the Mississippi Art Commission and the National Endowment of Arts in 2017. He currently lives and works in Mississippi and is currently investigating and creating imagery for the next chapter of his fictional tale, The Forget Me Nots.

The CBU Alumni exhibition will feature artwork by six graduates of CBU: Michelle Fair, who received a BFA from CBU in 2012 and an MFA from the Memphis College of Art in 2014; Lauren Jeu, who received a BFA from CBU in 2017; Servando Mireles, who graduated with a BSBA in 2018; Desiree Mitchell, who earned a BFA from CBU in 2013; Ray Pagni, who received a BFA in 2016; and Yancy Villa-Calvo, who earned three degrees from CBU — a BA in 1999, an MBA in 2001, and a BFA in 2006.

The Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery is located on the lower level of Plough Memorial Library in the center of the CBU campus on the Buckman Quadrangle, easily accessible from the Central Avenue parking lot. All exhibits and lectures are free and open to the public. More info at

Posted by Cory Dugan at 4:58 PM