Thursday, August 12, 2010

Art Heroes: Faith Ringgold

I had completed one portrait on Faith Ringgold that you will find an image of in a previous blog. I was unhappy with it.

I have created a second version which I am happier with and that will serve my needs of translating into a second murrini portrait, but the first of my Art Heroes series. During and following the residency, the art heroes that I had done prior visual research for, was modified in my mind, as to which artists I would include as potential portraits within a murrini series. I have decided that the murrini portraits should be about my female artists. Most of the initial murrini I will use is a millefiori type (little flowers). After Critical Theory I and thinking about the course of art history within Western civilization, I feel the course of my work should prioritize women artists within these icons of glass that I am creating.

My first art hero that I will explore is Faith Ringgold. I admire Faith for many reasons: I admire her for writing the history of Civil Rights through the story quilts she has made; for the rewriting the history of art through her own visits to the museums and master artists studios; and for the positive message that she makes to young people encouraging their potential in life.

I have had the pleasure to hear Faith speak several times and speak to her personally. Many of my art heroes are ones no longer living, or whom I have never met personally, but Faith is the exception, so I will begin with her. I assimilate Faith to other great American Black heroes such as the poet laureate, Mayo Angelou, who resides in my hometown of Winston Salem; and a female counterpart to Black male artists, such as Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence.

For those you that are not familiar with the work of Faith Ringgold, here is a short biography taken from her website:

Faith Ringgold, began her artistic career more than 35 years ago as a painter. Today, she is best known for her painted story quilts -- art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling. She has exhibited in major museums in the USA, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She is in the permanent collection of many museums including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, andThe Museum of Modern Art. Her first book, Tar Beach was a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, among numerous other honors. She has written and illustrated eleven children's books. She has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards and seventeen honorary doctorates, one of which is from her alma mater The City College of New York.

Faith Ringgold is married to Burdette Ringgold and has two daughters, Michele and Barbara Wallace; and three granddaughters, Faith, Theodora and Martha. She is a professor of art at the University of California in San Diego, California.

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