via | BlackArtNews.com
Montclair Art Museum Director, Lora Urbanelli and artist Margaret Rose Vendryes discuss how race, power, gender and identity are investigated in her African Diva Project paintings.
ARTIST BIO & STATEMENT
Each square canvas in my African Diva Project is modeled after a 12-inch LP album cover featuring a portrait of a popular black female soloist. Every Diva wears an African mask, chosen for its character and/or aesthetic compatibility to her image.
The mask is painted on paper and applied to the canvas. In Africa, masks (many depicting powerful female deities or ancestors) are worn almost exclusively by men. I give these dynamic female performers agency and protection replacing their psychological mask with a literal one. Songs – messages that once rose out of vinyl channels like black magic – are inscribed in the space that surrounds them. The series includes 33 1/3 paintings.
My bloodlines are diverse, but it is my modicum of African Ancestry that drives me to be present through art. The provocative, aggressive and sensual beauty of the arts born of Africa are at the center of my current practice and my self.
For more on the artist, visit: http://www.margaretrosevendryes.com