New work: "Denier"

You know that feeling when you take the last step on the stairs, and it turns out there is no step and your foot comes down extra hard? That unexpected jolt, tinged with chagrin? Now imagine the missing step was a friendship you thought you could rely on: how much worse would that feel?

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I’d felt that way about My Fellow Americans in general, and certain people in particular, over the past three years. Even my past seems to have been overwritten by these… interesting times in which we live.

Of course, I’ve picked up the fragments of this trust and rebuilt what I could, in a kintsugi kind of way. I can’t live with unrelenting suspicion of everyone I meet for the rest of my life. I wonder if all of us are in denial, but for very different reasons. I consider this new collage, “Denier,” a warning to myself as well as others.

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Speaking of broken trust, one of my previous works has been accepted to the upcoming exhibit “Fracture” at the Kirkland Arts Center. I appreciate that I’m not the only person thinking about cracks in what we used to think was stable.

"Library of Black Lies" at the Henry

Thank goodness most art venues give you a few months to see the work of major artists: I’d miss pretty much everything if they were two-day pop-ups. Fortunately, my schedule opened up the other day, so I seized the chance to see Edgar Arceneaux’s installation at the Henry Art Gallery.

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The danger of a single narrative — especially about black people — is one of his primary themes. Part of the wall text reads:

Arceneaux’s architectural installation Library of Black Lies furthers this conceit, positing that there is no singular truth to history and that even well-intentioned narratives can lock things down to one agenda or cause. Arceneaux argues that the true nature of people and events, which is insistently messy, chaotic, and rhizomatic, is often whitewashed and sterilized.

Talk about “messy”: the installation includes several of Bill Cosby’s books, partially encrusted with sugar crystals. It’s lovely and disturbing, because the crystallization gradually eats away at the book. What a profound way to illustrate how Cosby’s (pre-rape-conviction) narratives and fatherly image morph into something else.

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As an artist who also explores different ways of being black, I’m inspired by this traveling installation — and also really glad I didn’t see it before my museum exhibit. I can imagine going down a rabbit hole of comparing my work-in-progress to his… and nobody wants to see that end result. If you’d like to see the “Library of Black Lies,” seize the day: the installation closes the first weekend of June.


Art exhibit: "Tourist" in Jersey

If I can’t travel at the moment, at least my artwork is getting out and about! Later this month, you can see “Tourist” in New Jersey — at the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts & Sciences.

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In Loveladies, New Jersey, my collage will be shown in the “Works on Paper” exhibit. Dr. Louis Marchesano of the Philadelphia Museum of Art selected 68 pieces out of more than a thousand submissions: drawings and paintings, prints, paper constructions and more.

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The month-long exhibit opens May 24th, right before Memorial Day, which sounds like the perfect weekend-at-the-shore to me. When you go to the exhibit, remember to tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can share your photos!