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TALKING, an exhibition of work by Benny Andrews and Patrice Renee Washington
Oct 14, 2014
TALKING grew out of a series of etchings gifted to Robert Blackburn by Benny Andrews. Andrews was among the many artists of color that gravitated to Blackburn’s culturally diverse Printmaking Workshop in the mid 60’s. The son of Georgia sharecroppers, Andrews became a seminal American painter known for richly textured portraits of southern life. Like Blackburn, Andrews remained a constant advocate for social justice through the arts until the end of his life in 2006.
Andrews’ works draw on a biting tactile syntax. They give voice to many of the struggles that initiated Blackburn’s workshop in 1948: How do we mobilize for change? What is the legacy of American slavery? What lineage do black artists claim today?
TALKING aims to revisit these themes through the work of emerging artist, Patrice Renee Washington. Utilizing a range of familiar materials—from towel racks to car-fresheners— Washington has created a body of sculpture in response to a selection of Andrews’ work. Washington’s objects weave through culturally coded materials and “neutral” commercial armatures, drawing out ways in which race, class, and gender shade our domestic landscape.
TALKING is a dialogue in print, paint, wool, and Kool-aid powder. Both artists speak fiercely through their material sensitivity rather than explicitly depict fraught race relations. This exhibition is a platform to continue conversations that began when Blackburn opened his print shop sixty-six years ago, and that continue today at RBPMW.