Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #73








by Kay Bourne

(pictured: Maddu in front of rajah’s palace “Fatah Morgana”)

461da42a8e12dc62e91fde010ecc4a87.124.93 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #73For the artist who is a woman, an identity of one’s own is as significant as Virginia Woolf’s vaunted “a room of one’s own.” With the exhibit “JASIRI,” which means fearless in Kenyan, four very different artists show art that indicates aspects of that search of self-discovery and revelation.

The exhibit at THE GALLERY AT THE PIANO FACTORY continues through JUNE 28. Regular hours are Friday evenings 6-8pm and Saturdays and Sundays 1- 5pm. You can also visit by appointment. MITCH WEISS, currently the overall curator of the space, can be reached through his website here at . The gallery is located at 791 TREMONT STREET, a block from Massachusetts Avenue, walking towards Ruggles Station. For more info you can also phone 617-437-9365.

Born in Mexico, and raised in Mexico City in the years when the capitol was less populated and there was art at every turn, MADDU HUACUJA‘s empathy for mysticism or magical realism prompted an extended visit to India. The five large photographs taken in the northwest where karma is palpable and real, evidence Maddu’s interest in matters that transcend the every day. Take for example, a rajah’s castle in the Thar Desert rising from what appears to be choppy water but is actually a mirage. In another aspect of her individuality, Maddu’s feminist spirit lets a photograph of 31 hand prints stand as acrimonious testimony of the sacrifices imposed on women in a male dominated world: they represent the 31 wives of a rajah who were tossed on his funeral pyre to join him in death.

JOHNETTA TINKER‘s mixed media, acrylic paint, wood, glass, bead, and wire work “SHAKY SHACKY SHOTGUN SERIES/Variation #1″ is likely in homage to JOHN BIGGERS, but, while she is his protégé from studies with him in Texas, the student has found her own interpretation for this recurring symbol of African American culture.

On an even more autobiographical note, is the slightly unnerving “FAMILY SECRETS” in which one person is shut out from the gossip flowing between the others. Tinker’s elongated heads sculptured and smooth like undulating hills rubbing up against the other are made with paper she rips, then paints with gesso before putting the pieces together again. “I’m that one they hush up when I ask what they’re talking about,” she confides.

GLORETTA BAYNES’ quilted large wall hangings depicting a totem pole of perched doves serene against air brushed lattice work and leopard spot patterns in shades of browns on white, “AFRO-CUBA SERIES OSHUN DOVES,” signals the importance of a recent trip to Cuba. Her travels there not only acquainted her more deeply with traditional African religion through an introduction to the masks of the Abaku Secret Society related to the leopard among other references, but gave her her true name: Oniyemi. Translated, the term means “art befits her.” A Yoruba practitioner gave her this look into herself and a new way to embrace herself.

Fabric artist SUSAN THOMPSON‘s mother was seriously ill for the last eight years of her life; now through a series of portraits Susan can begin to recall her mom differently. “I miss her. I want her back. She makes me happy, remembering the good times we had, and remembering gives me the identity I had as a child even though she and her sister and brother are gone and I am here without them.”

The three unpretentious and deceptively homey fabric collages entitled “MOM,” “AUNT VICTORIA,” and “UNCLE ALEX” are central to Thompson’s quest to thinking about how her family came to America – a metaphor of her ancestors and ancestral line. A mythic sankofi bird looking back and forward simultaneously stamped from a block print Thompson carved, along with a seated African sculpture likewise devised are at the frame of her mother’s portrait, for instance. Mom wears a blue crocheted neckpiece held together by a costume jewelry pin. Also present is a miniature angel singing from a book of spirituals, an homage to famed Boston artist, the late ALAN ROHAN CRITE who was Thompson’s teacher and advocate in the arts.

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