Tuesday, June 16, 2009

bearden/kahlo inspiration

Last Friday night was the opening reception of "Reaction", new works by the Visual Artists Alliance of LaGrange created in reaction to a work of art by a favorite artist.

Each artist's work (20 artists, 40 works in paint, glass, collage, clay) was accompanied by a small reproduction of the inspiration piece and a statement explaining their inspiration.

The show is taking place at the Cochran Gallery on Lafayette Square, downtown LaGrange. The gallery usually showcases the collection of local collectors Wes & Missy Cochran, who have a world class collection of graphics (focused heavily on Andy Warhol) and works by African-American artists. My favorite of their collection is a fantastic 1975 aquatint/photoetching by my American Idol, Romare Bearden, entitled The Family. Here it is:

The Cochrans graciously agreed to allow me to hang the Bearden next to my offering for the show, Alfresco, Family Table...

She is an oil on canvas, 55" x 72". I made her in collaboration with Genna. My thought process was that the juxstaposition of Genna's flowing style and my broad, crisp panes of color create a similar feeling to Bearden's collaged (or in this case, collage like) images.

Our featured work for the show was created by my VAAL co-director Cora Wooley Waterhouse. Her painting is Adaptation:

Inspired by this photographic portrait of Frida Kahlo by Nikolas Muray:

I loved what Cora had to say,

"Photographs of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo remind me of my own Hungarian grandmother, Anna Schreier. Both women were proud and exotic, brave and deeply independent. Last year for my birthday, my daughter gave me a book of fantastic photographic portraits of Kahlo taken by Nikolas Muray, one of her many lovers. I chose the cover photo as inspiration for my self portrait.

For my piece, I wear a heavily embroidered vest, homage to my Hungarian mother and grandmother. The necklace is a favorite of mine, found in pieces at the old LaGrange Antique Mall shortly after we arrived here. The azaleas and maple leaves for my hair are from my own beautiful springtime yard. There is no place that blooms more beautifully than Georgia in spring.
I painted myself on a camouflage fabric ground. The idea that a fabric can help a person blend into their environment adds a wink of irony to my Adaptation and gives a nod to the patterned wallpaper background of the original work."

Kudos, Cora! Check her out online at http://www.corawooleywaterhouse.com/.

If you're planning to be in the LaGrange area, you can see the show Wednesday-Saturday from 1-5pm at the Cochran Gallery, E. Lafayette Square until July 2nd.

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