Beautiful, inspiring works of art explore the rich contributions of African Americans during the month-long Black History Month celebration.
This year, we celebrate 5-dynamic, black female artists who use art as their voice to respond to, tell and represent their stories through realistic and metaphoric symbols of loss, childhood memories, and cultural similarities and differences in UNDERTONES: BLACK WOMEN RISE where emotional connections to perception, relationships, stereotypes, and esteem are depicted.
OPENING RECEPTION – (Meet the Artists)
February 8, 2020 | 6-9PM
Barbara Hodges • Lakesha Moore • Cheryl Pinkard • Tricia Townes • Donna Woodley
February 9, 2020 – March 8, 2020
Learn about our Home. Heart. Heritage quilt project and workshops. CLICK HERE
Tuesday thru Saturday: 10AM to 5PM
Saturday: 10AM to 5PM
Sunday: 1PM to 5PM
Monday thru Friday 9AM – 5PM
This powerful exhibition is FREE and open to the public. All ages are welcome.
Donations are welcome and appreciated.
Thoughts, discussions, and many healthy debates about black culture over the years are seeds that I’ve subconsciously sewn, rediscovering them as an artist years later. At my core, I am a portrait painter, and I love making work that speaks to notions of the black experience. The figure in my paintings is confrontational towards the visibility and value of black people within American society, both historically and in a contemporary context.
The enlistment of men and women that I know, including myself, is a significant part of my process. It allows me to explore the idea of emotion, connection, and relationship, and also challenges me to render the figure accordingly. I discuss current themes and ideas that exist by combining the figure with metaphoric symbols such as granny panties and toilets. Informed by stereotypes, cultural similarities and differences, perception of beauty, mental health, and esteem, my work often uses subtle humor to create an environment conducive to healthy dialogue.
Currently, I am making paintings of black men combined with toilets that are representative of a throne. The image speaks to self-perception, American society’s perception of black men, and the discourse of black masculinity. They are large scale paintings in which the men are engaging the viewer using the gaze.
My primary desire for the viewer is to feel compelled and comfortable to first approach the work. The icing on the cake is if they dwell there, laugh, think, and walk away having felt something.
My pieces in this show are about memory. Memories are elusive and unfixed like quicksilver, yet they form the very basis of who we are. They can never completely recapture the past, but we rely on them as the ground of our being. Specifically, memories usually are the only way to sift through our relationships to deceased loved ones.
Longing and loss figure prominently in these pieces because they often portray family members who have passed away. They are missed. They are mourned. Worse yet, even razor-sharp images can only partially recall their subjects; the underlying memories themselves are faulty, unreliable.
These works explore the vernacular ideas of the family album, the sampler, and collecting. An assortment of my long-deceased father’s handkerchiefs became surfaces for the earliest pieces in this series. Old and new family photographs are redone as paintings. Memories, childhood desires and fantasies surface and have their say as well. Embroidery stitches and a hoard of buttons define borders and sections of the images.
In order to gain some perspective, I put these pieces aside after my mother died in 2003. We were very close, and her death hit hard. Tabling the work was necessary to process the loss more fully, and to heal. The succeeding years have allowed me the grace to own those personality traits we shared, and to laugh when I see the world through her eyes. Similarly, Morrison conflates the stormy summers of her childhood with her mother’s. Her past and her mother’s experiences converge, weave, dance, switch places.
In more recent pieces this elision of my life with those of my ancestors and the slipperiness of fact and invention is paramount. While earlier pieces translated the photographs to paint in a very literal, matter of fact way, the more recent work explores this territory using amore symbolic, metaphorical slant. The time and the space is vital to remember and reimagine not only the images, but also the smell, taste, and feel of the past shared over generations, like the sweet tang of a strawberry which conjures up a world.
I often refer to myself as an “artistic storyteller”. As a child growing up in rural Rutherford County, I was quite fortunate to be around elders telling numerous tells & stories. I could listen to my parents and grandparents for hours. Subsequently, it was not a surprise that as an artist, I love to weave a story around my art. I was always surrounded by warm, rich, bold colors from the landscape to the trees and skies. Dr. Barbara Hodges creates art that invites the viewer to ponder and explore. With a passion for hope, excellence, beauty and things spiritual, she skillfully creates artwork that possesses vibrancy, textures, bold brilliant colors, light, and mystery.
My artwork has evolved over the years from oil drip style to now mixed media incorporating found objects and textiles. Folds in the fabric are created to generate the 3D aspect. I love to portray life in color. My artwork is depicted as a narrative and always layered with a symbol of “social consciousness” which may be an object or person. Artistic styles range from memory paintings, abstract, traditional, and experimental art. Hodges’ goal is to share her art always leaving the viewer with some life lesson. Her art is meant to enlighten, inspire, elevate, empower, and educate the viewer.
The year 2020 is a very special year being the “Year of the Woman” and thus reminds me of all the special women in my life past, present, and future. These women can be characterized as strong, determined, hopeful, survivors, change-makers, forgiving, and filled with perseverance with the ability to let go of the past. They possess the uncanny ability to laugh, see good in each day, and succeed despite the obstacles and challenges of life. The art in this exhibition is designed to give a voice to the voiceless and inspire, educate, and empower the observer. One goal of my art is to depict as elegantly stated by Suffragist Nannie Helen Burroughs to give women “a Tower of the strength of which poets have never sung, orators have never spoken, and scholars have never written”.
Cheryl is influenced by the Abstract expressionism movement during post-WWII America. She combines psychology in her compositions reversing the Gestalt principles by exploiting the visual-spatial; causing viewers to pause and “digest” her expression. Deeply inspired by her personal journey and struggles with Dyslexia during grade school, she hopes to use her art to give voice to those who desire to be boundless by words; like herself.
We are affirmed by our dreams and equally challenged by our realities. Acting as a witness to personal and group culture, my work responds to experience and collective memory. It is prompted by words, phrases, or conversations that center on identity and belonging. These portraits represent individuals who have waded through questions of purpose, ancestral origin, temporary placement, and permanence. Through figurative work and layered landscapes of color, we discover versions of ourselves.
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