In the Fall of 2015 I had the pleasure of visiting Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Highlights from my time in the Museum can be seen below:
Within my time in Los Angeles I had the pleasure of visiting LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and its new gallery and initiative dedicated to the arts of Africa. Through educational programs and outreach the new initiative will provide audiences of all age levels with the experience of exhibitions and the permanent collection dedicated to the arts of Africa. The new gallery gives a more permanent presence at the Museum for the arts of Africa.
LACMA states on their wall text as you enter the gallery, “Situated next to the Egyptian gallery, this new space will foster [the] understanding of the relationships between sub-Saharan Africa and ancient Egypt as part of the shared continent of Africa, and signals LACMA’s commitment to presenting Africa’s innumerable artistic and cultural legacies”.
The first exhibition of the initiative is entitled “Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa”, representing a glimpse of the society which is one of the most important kingdoms in Central Africa. LACMA collaborated with the staff of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, in Teruvren, Belgium, specifically with Anne-Marie Bouttiaux who is the Head of the Ethnography Division and served as co-curator of the exhibition.
Within the exhibition you can find a glimpse into the Luba society with emblems from Luba rulers. Not only do you view the arts, you also get a sneak into the underpinnings of authority. One proverb states, “Men are chiefs in the daytime, but women are chiefs at night.” Although Luba arts were made and owned by men, the arts almost always represent women, showing the role women played in their communities and their importance.
In addition to historical works, there is an installation entitled Congo: Shadow of the Shadow (2005) by the Luba artist Aimé Mpane, borrowed from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. There is a male figure made from 4,652 match sticks displaying human strength and fragility with light playing against shadow.
The mixed media photography of Jessica Ofalt shows the development of the work previously documented on Art Edge NYC in the post Artist on the Edge: Jessica Ofalt. Her work is inspirational and transformative. Jessica’s continued drive to become a better artist and creator, find new ways to combine her interests and set new goals translates into her creations which are captivating and inviting. Her career in the art world is full of genuine interest and talent, and the mixed media photographs display her latest body of work dispensing her skill set and innovative spirit.
Continue to read the post to find out more about the mixed media photographs of Jessica Ofalt.
The mixed media pieces came about from trying to find a way to combine the two mediums (photography and painting) in general. I printed all of the fiber prints in the dark room, and all of the pictures were shot on a film camera on 400 iso arista black and white film. This body of work is a stepping stone to combining paint and photography in Common Dove Photography. Having to create a body of work gave me not only an outlet to experiment with my personal work, but also has helped me get one step closer to that ultimate goal. The hard part has been finding the right mix of paper and medium. That is the ultimate goal though, to push the mixed media in my own photography business.
Her artist statement details her sentiment and meaning behind the work, while the work displays her strength in artistry, skill and design:
This body of work is about the moment in time when a regular old crazy Aunt becomes a saint in the back yard. When this same Aunt, who always seemed so strange, now feels like a friend I never had the chance to completely appreciate. When plants become monuments to loved ones passed away and about seeing family resemblance in a face of an Uncle who never met my son but looks strangely like him. When Grandma can’t open the door for Grandpa anymore and the pictures of them standing in a doorway become historical markers in the past. To talk about time in any sense, a person is opening Pandora’s Box; the notion of time is too vast to tie down into a single statement. To me, the visual representation of time passing is one of the most bittersweet feelings. To see the gray hairs on my mother’s head and know that with each one turning, she is only getting older and the thought that one day I might be standing in the back yard, with a plant, remembering her as she does my Grandmother. To see my own reflection in the glass with my son, reminds me of my Grandparents standing in the doorway of their home with the reflections of the world around them. These ordinary moments are almost haunting now. Time is something that you cannot stop and life is a delicate tap dance around moments that seem almost insignificant at times but will turn out to be defining moments, just as the hunting of worms in the garden becomes a grand adventure. I can imagine walking in a place, long in ruin, and having the buildings erect themselves around me all by themselves. These pictures are ones that I have manipulated and brought to life what I imagine when I look at them. The juxtaposition of two times, past and present, into this ever fleeting ‘now. They toy with the idea that memories alone can take you back into a place that only becomes more precious as the hours pass. They are ordinary life made holy. There is a sense that somehow I am yoked together with sentiments from my family history and those people who are only kept alive by their photographs and their stories. These ten photographs give personal history a sense of time and place in the present.
In her own words from Common Dove Photography Blog:
When I started taking photographs, I had an incredible urge to physically manipulate the images, it comes from being a painter. I am a Painter to my core, if I paint enough hours during the day, my dreams are filled with brush strokes. I began dabbling in Photography mostly as a result of painting so much- I used my photos for paintings. With the birth of my son and the death of my grandmother, capturing and remembering has become invaluable. I appreciate the technical aspect of Photography and have a drive to understand that medium. I have found that the two have a lot in common along with their own strengths and weaknesses.