(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Incitements of Folly, a new show of works on paper and paintings by Baton Rouge artist Dawn Black opens at Independent Art Projects (IAP) with an artist reception on Saturday, April 4, 2015, at 3pm. Incitements of Folly takes a candid look at the personifications of “folly” within the broader context of Black’s primary themes: dynamics and imbalances of power; the constructs of identity and self awareness; and, depictions of the socially absurd. The exhibition, presented by CYNTHIA-REEVES, runs through Sunday, May 3, 2015.
Black’s work examines the practice of masquerade and its role in relation to conceptions of identity and power. The artist depicts people from various sources, societies and time periods in gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper and is particularly interested in the various permutations of social practices that engender power hierarchies. Her compositions are influenced by eastern perspective, theatre, and myth making in general.
For example, the watercolor on view at IAP gallery, Truth’s Weight, reflects on three very separate and disparate personalities. Black’s central figure, a peasant in traditional South American garb, is walking away from the viewer. Faceless and nameless, the peasant struggles to carry the manifestations of a dissolute culture far removed from his own reality. The two women perched on the scales illustrate cultural perceptions of accepted female beauty. On the left, idealized youth, with fetishized accessories, parted lips and eyes that engage her viewer head on. The figure on the right is gender ambiguous, wearing an inflatable female “dancer fat suit” costume, yet with a masculine unshaven face. Above this mute drama floats a feather, an ancient Egyptian symbol of the afterlife. It was understood that before one’s soul may reach true paradise, The Field of Reeds, one’s heart was weighed against Ma’at, the feather of truth. Only souls weighing less than the feather were permitted entry to the sacred Field of Reeds, the Ancient World’s symbol of judgment.
Dawn Black’s award-winning thesis, Conceal Project, was recently on view at The Columbus Museum in Georgia, (2012), followed by subsequent traveling exhibitions with the Museum of Paper and Watermark in Fabriano, Italy (2013); Fundacion Pedro Cano, Blanca, Spain (2012); Weatherspoon Museum, Greenboro, North Carolina (2013); and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA (2013).
Black received an MFA in Painting and Sculpture in 2001 from the University of Iowa, and has been awarded several prestigious residencies around the country; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, McColl Center for the Arts, Lawndale Arts Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been profiled in Art Papers, Art in America, New American Paintings, The Washington, and The Advocate.
“I think of the limitless bank of images that pervades our lives as a collective unconscious. A shared state, we all contribute and are part of it. I cull these images through random web searches, visits to public archives, and perusing periodicals to intuitively select figures of interest. I decontextualize the figures by moving them from their original context to a vacant piece of paper in order to provide absolute focus on their identities and roles in society.” — Dawn Black
Independent Art Project gallery is open on Saturdays and by appointment.