Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

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I know, I know.

I should be writing about an artist I don’t really care for or agree with because that would make for an interesting piece of art writing but this is an art diary (of sorts) and, well, I can write what I want (for now)! I’m sure my writing will go into varying directions in the next month or so with a studio class on the horizon. I digress (per usual). For those that know me well, I preface (quite a bit) but I did that (yet again) because I constantly write about artists that inspire and move me.

Ellen Gallagher being one of those artists. Being a fan of Art 21, I found myself engaged by her work. The ability to take imagery and appropriate it in a repetitious fashion but making all iterations worthy of a look amazes and excites me. A great example of her collaborative work is the ‘DeLuxe’ Prints series. She adds to an image of Isaac Hayes in such a way that the viewer is forced to re-imagine a narrative. Her re-telling of a history through painting over what is there, magically, uncovers what has long been concealed. Think of that contradiction? Covering up to uncover. Re-appropriating to make appropriate, inevitably be re-appropriated and re-configured in the viewers mind. Gallagher works wonders. I guess I wrote about her because I’m hoping to do some of my own magic in this upcoming studio art class. We shall see!

Learn more about Ellen Gallagher here

Some time ago, I was introduced to the work of Sonya Clark. It encapsulates the truth, which resides in our bodies. Hair, for example, contains information about our biology that we often neglect or forget. Our predispositions, if you believe they exist are engrained in every part of the body. Clark explores hair in such a way that brings her understanding and experiences to everyone (not just African-American men and women). One of the many reasons I love Clark’s work is in large part due to use of the body and the tools we use to maintain our bodies. The Combs Series evokes how something so simple and trivial can reflect complexities and intricacies of beauty and self-care. Clark’s utilization of simple materials to create visual complexity contrasts how combs are often seen as cheap, plastic, low quality tools used simply to groom unruliness.

Clark notes on her site, when talking about her projects entailing use of human hair,

“Deep with each strand, the vestiges of our roots resound. In this work hair is formed into markers of chronology, wisdom, and adornment”.

Much of her work resonates with me because in the past few years, I’ve had probably close to a dozen different hairstyles in the past couple of years. Co-workers even rumored that I had shaved my head, which is far from the truth. I merely had an extremely short pixie hairstyle someone misspoke and interpreted as a shaved head. In any case, it dawned on me the importance people hold on hair and beauty. Some women allow such an external characteristic to define their femininity. Yet, Clark doesn’t (only) re-make and re-interpret her body to create beautiful pieces of sculptural work. She believes in showcasing how the body itself can serve as a medium. She profoundly sculpts the truth in our bodies within her work.

Please visit her site here