Uncommon materials such as recycled rubber tires, plastic bags, beads, and volcanic rock make up some of the works in the new exhibition, Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists, at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.
The exhibition, which opens Thursday, Sept. 6, is an innovative fusion of fine art and craft through the lens of seven Black women artists. The exhibition, on view Sept. 6 through Dec. 1, 2012, explores the innovative ways that Black women artists fuse fine art and craft.
An opening reception is set for Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m., where special guests will include artist Martha Jackson Jarvis, who will take part in a discussion about Material Girls.
“Material Girls” was developed and organized by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. “The caliber and creativity of the artists in ‘Material Girls’ is astounding,” said Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Ph.D., director of collections and exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum and the curator of this traveling exhibition. “Their sculptural works have a highly sensory appeal, ranging from the gleaming visual surfaces of hand-blown glass to the coarse textures of volcanic stone. A key concern is environmental issues, and many of the artists use recycled materials in their works.”
According to Wilkinson, “Material Girls” affirms that Black women artists have been and continue to be leaders of innovation and artistic experimentation. The exhibition was loosely inspired by Alice Walker’s seminal 1974 essay, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: The Creativity of Black Women in the South,” which examines how Black women have had an unyielding ability to harness their creativity, even through the most painful times. Walker, discussing women ranging from poet Phillis Wheatley to her own mother, describes how Black women’s creativity—which historically has not been widely documented—has persevered.
Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, described the opportunity to present “Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists” as a privilege and explained that it complements the museum’s unique mission to focus on art by and about women of Africa and the African Diaspora. “With its dynamic checklist by an impressive group of artists who have each earned considerable acclaim, this exhibition challenges viewers to reconsider the potential of common materials and stretch the boundaries of their own creativity.”
Major support for the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s presentation of “Material Girls” has been provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of Fulton County Arts & Culture.
The museum will host “Oh, MG!: The Opening Reception for ‘Material Girls’” on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Exhibition curator Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Ph.D. and artist Martha Jackson Jarvis are the special guests. Jackson Jarvis will participate in a discussion at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.