©2014 MELVIN EDWARDS / ARTIST›S RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK COURTESY ALEXANDER GRAY ASSOCIATES, NEW YORK; STEPHEN FRIEDMAN GALLERY, LONDON r Homage to My Father and the Spirit, 1969 Stainless steel and painted steel, 96” by 0.5” Cornell University Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Lawn Ithaca New York o © 2015 MELVIN EDWARDS/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK. COURTESY OF THE UTSUKUSHI-GA-HARA OPEN-AIR MUSEUM, JAPAN. Asafo Kra No, 1993 Painted steel in three parts BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE In 1960, Edwards exhibited his first sculpture “Metal Sound” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It was a class in welding that transformed his artistic choices and put him on the path to becoming a sculptor. Working in the vein of the sculptor, Julio Gonzalez, and exploring different techniques of welding, Edwards discovered his own artistic language. In 1965 he held his first solo exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California. Since then, he has held more than twenty solo exhibitions and has participated in countless group exhibitions. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious grants and prizes. He moved to New York in 1967, and two years later, he created his first large-scale public artwork — today situated at Cornell University — “Homage to my Father and the Spirit,” a stainless steel assemblage-sculpture painted in red, blue, orange, and olive green. 137 Melvin Edwards discovered art early in high school. He left Texas to study in California at the Los Angeles City College. A talented athlete, he then received a football scholarship in 1959-60 to attend the University of Southern California, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1965 and met the Hungarian painter, Francis de Erdely, who became his mentor. He joined the Los Angeles County Art Institute, before going on to a prestigious career as a sculptor. Professor Edwards has had a distinguished 40-year long teaching career. In 2002, he retired from Rutgers University, where he taught sculpture, drawing and Third World artists for thirty years.