Tag: painting

Fictions

posted by – 10/27/17 @ 2:39pm

 

"Fictions" at the Studio Museum. Photo Courtesy of the Studio Museum.

“Fictions” at the Studio Museum. Photo Courtesy of the Studio Museum. Click to Enlarge.

Recently, as a Senior Art Major at Vanderbilt University, I had the great honor of taking an educational trip to New York City with my classmates, courtesy of the Hamblet Family Endowment. One of the most influential exhibitions I got to see was Fictions, at the Studio Museum in Harlem.   Fictions is a survey of recent artwork by a group of young artists of African descent living and working in the United States. The show was curated by Associate Curator, Connie H. Choi,  and Assistant Curator, Hallie Ringle.  In an interview with artsy.net, Connie Choi reveals that they didn’t approach this show with a particular theme in mind. Instead, they found that certain themes kept coming up in their search through artists and their studio visits.  These young artists consistently engage in creating alternative narratives that harken back to personal experiences, historical references, and the deep roots of racism in America. Honestly, every single artwork in this show is remarkable. The focus of this week’s blog will be on one particularly inspirational artist/Wonder Woman: Amy Sherald.

The Make Believer (Monet's Garden) by Amy Sherald

The Make Believer (Monet’s Garden) by Amy Sherald

The Boy with No Past by Amy Sherald

The Boy with No Past by Amy Sherald

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On display in the exhibition, are two of Amy Sherald’s paintings. Acutely aware of the scarcity of black faces in art history, Ms. Sherald exclusively paints African Americans.  Her characters are painted in a stylized realistic portrait format, with a grayish skin tone contrasted by vibrant patterned clothing on a flat plane.  Her subjects stand firm and calm, but there is no denying that there’s something powerful and evocative about their spirit.  Although the color palette and attire reflect contemporary choices, her figures stand in a timeless world.  They muster up conversations about both history and the future.

Ms. Sherald’s art has recently catapulted her toward phenomenal success.  Her career was interrupted quite a few times, having been diagnosed with congestive heart failure as she was finishing up her master’s degree.  Later, she took a break from school to care for ill family members back home in Georgia.  Having also lost her father and brother to illness, Sherald serves as nothing less than an inspiration to everyone around her, continuing to push through adversity and maintain compassion for those less fortunate in her community.  According to an interview for the New York Times, Ms. Sherald is not very far at all from the days of waiting tables to pay for a studio with no heat or air conditioning.  Nevertheless, she plans to financially support those in need within her region once she pays off her school loans and medical bills.

Having recently entered the world of international distinction in art, her paintings have been acquired by museums such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.  It is with incredible honor that Ms. Sherald has recently been commissioned to paint former First Lady, Michelle Obama’s official portrait.  This is the first time that black artists have been chosen to paint presidential portraits, and this commission certainly has profound historical significance for the Nation. Amy Sherald is an artist who proudly paints African Americans, and Ms. Obama has momentously chosen to break away from the conventional portrait tradition and declare pride in such a rich and beautiful culture.

Artist Spotlight: Martica Griffin

posted by – 01/24/17 @ 4:11pm

Dreamboat, 48"x48" acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Dreamboat, 48″x48″ acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Martica Griffin is a Nashville-based artist whose work is primarily abstract and figurative. She has been with Tinney Contemporary for over eight years and four of her works are currently being exhibited in the gallery’s new show, Women of Abstraction.

For the pieces in the exhibition, Griffin drew inspiration from children’s stories – “each with a positive message, strong rhythm, and great sense of humor. Some of the paintings are a bit more structured, others freer and flowing, but all with the same purpose – to stir up the imagination through color, line and texture.”

Her four exhibited paintings focus on having the same starting point and limited palette. Each work starts with intentional and organic black lines covered with a colored grid. This gives each piece a unique sense of energy and rhythm. The work is then built, layer upon layer, through painting, drawing, and scraping, until the completed piece is revealed. Characterized by energetic lines and bold colors, each piece should leave viewers with a smile.

Altered State, 47"x47" acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Altered State, 47″x47″ acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Although her current works utilize the same starting point, Griffin normally works with a continuously changing process. Sometimes her canvases are first filled with color, while other times the canvas is filled with marks or crazy textures using tape, spackle or thick gloss medium. Griffin’s desire to always try new ways of tackling the canvas drives her continuously evolving process and ever-changing way of viewing the world around her. For example, Griffin is currently working on a new body of work on paper that involves starting with offbeat materials and then depicting a figurative group using only large sharpies.

 

On the topic of producing art, Griffin believes creating work can sometimes be frustrating and unenjoyable but is ultimately rewarding. She says, “When I feel like something is finished, that’s the payoff. And when someone has one of my paintings in their home or office and it adds to their life, that’s the best.”