Lorraine O’Grady – Photo Images 1980-91 (Works)
Lorraine O’Grady – Photo Images 1980-91 Press Release
Thomas Erben is pleased to present Lorraine O’Grady: Photo Images 1980-91, on view from November 4 to December 4.
From Ms. O’Grady’s first, pioneering performance at Just Above Midtown Gallery, “Mlle Bourgeoise Noire,” 1980, her work has been without media limits. Performance, photomontage, installation, writing and public lectures are inseparable parts of her total art project: the mapping of black subjectivity, and the establishment of black female agency.
The exhibit highlights O’Grady’s synthesis of rigorous political statements and images of ravishing beauty. The photomontage series “Gaze,” 1991, a quadriptych of doubled nude busts examining the effect of racism on the inner and outer lives of contemporary African Americans, gains subtle resonance when hung facing “Sisters,” a quadriptych from the Miscegenation Family Album series, 1980/88, that compares the families of the artist’s sister and Queen Nefertiti.
O’Grady comes to postmodern fragmentation naturally, with opposed roots in the West Indies and New England and the ambiguities of a privileged black middle-class background. The subjectivities she maps are hybrid, in content as well as in form. Images of divergent experience are often submitted to the forced unity of the diptych. But diptychs recombine into quadriptychs, quadriptychs into series, and series interact with series.
Ms. O’Grady exhibited at the INTAR Gallery in 1991 and more recently in “Revealing the Self: Portraits by Twelve Contemporary Artists,” organized by the Bronx Museum. Currently her work is included in shows at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art and Southern Illinois University. A one-person show is scheduled for the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1995.