Sunday, February 18

Attempting Kara

When I was younger, my favorite artists were Leo & Diane Dillon. My mother gave me The People Could Fly when I was five. The illustrations captivated me and I spent lots of weekends at the West Dade Regional Library, sitting in the little cut-out circles in the walls in the childrens' section, looking at every book the Dillons had illustrated.

Fast forward fourteen years later. I found an article about Kara Walker in a newspaper and her silhouettes reminded me very much of the magical black people the Dillons created. Sure Walker's images carried the weights of slavery but they were as brilliant and fancifal. I went out to Baltimore a few years ago to visit a a friend and see an exhibition of Walker's. I had a kind of breakdown in the room her silhouettes floated around, crying and praying and smiling at the images. Since then, she's been a favorite contemporary artist of mine.

One of my favorite images of hers is a girl floating down from the sky surrounded by little balls of cotton. I found it online a long time ago, printed it out and haven't seen in anywhere else. 08/2008 UPDATE: This image is from Kara Walker: Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, 1997, currently on display at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art In 2005, The New School commissioned Kara Walker to do an installation in the 13th Street building. I was a student there at the time and would stop by very often to watch her work. I always wanted to ask her about the girl parachuting with cotton.

My sofa rests against a raised part of the wall. It's a perfect space for a big painting, but I've had a very hard time deciding what to put there. I had the idea to project the image onto this part of the wall, trace it and paint it. I just hope it's not in violation of any laws.

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