Art Break: Elizabeth Catlett’s Art Legacy

“The granddaughter of former slaves, Catlett was raised in Washington, D.C. Her father died before she was born and her mother held several jobs to raise three children. Refused admission to Carnegie Institute of Technology because of her race, Catlett enrolled at Howard University, where her teachers included artist Loïs Mailou Jones and philosopher Alain Locke. She graduated with honors in 1935 and went on to earn the first the first M.F.A. in sculpture at the University of Iowa five years later.”

Read more here and here

(featured image is titled “I have Given the World My Songs”)


Art Break: Simone Leigh’s method of concealment and visibility

“Through ceramics, Leigh references vernacular visual traditions from the Caribbean, the American South, and the African continent, as well as the Afro Descendant diasporic experience dating from the Middle Passage to the present. Vessels, cowrie shells, and busts are reoccurring forms, each making symbolic reference to the black body.”

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ART BREAK: Jessica Rankin’s Mental Maps

“Jessica Rankin’s work might best be described as ‘mental maps’. Working on a sheer fabric called organdie, her images invoke cartography or geographic diagrams. Made from thousands of tiny embroidered stitches, Rankin delineates shapes, boundaries, and contours, interconnecting and locating them with miniscule text. In Hour To Hour, which incorporates 4 gossamer swatches, Rankin’s constellation appears to hover as gauzy illusion, with tiny green islands anchoring fixed location in ‘nowhere’. Labelled with poetic stream of consciousness text such as IHEARDTHEMBUTWASNOLONGERTHERE and COMPLETELYBYSURPP, Rankin’s map refutes tangible space to chart the mystical terrains of memory, the subconscious, fiction, and passing time.”