Artist Statement

In my work I deconstruct and reconstruct narratives that are often found in the African American diaspora. Through the collection of found object, material, fabric, photography, advertisement, paint and torn paper, I work in the medium of collage mixed media to construct these narratives. Upon finding photographs that belonged to my 100-year-old great grandmother, I was inspired to retell the stories told by her that were associated with each picture. Within this process of retelling, I found myself drawing from light, dark, color, smell, texture, taste and other emotional ques that filled the memory and moment. I sought to find elements and juxtaposed them next to one another in a way to give the viewer an emotional and tectonic sense of the narrative. The layering and applying is the building of a story. While perceived to have a messy vitality there is a structure to juxtaposing and weaving together individual pieces.

 

As this process developed I found that the narratives were not just my own, but familiar to others, and a common thread found within the African American culture. This common thread of family, structure and dynamics implored me, to push further through our cultural fabric to explore race, class, and socio-economic conditions that set up these family structures. My work, that began as a personal manifesto of my family history became one of many families as it delved into topics from civil rights, education and gentrification. Like the many diverse factors that shape our narrative, are analogous to the diverse elements I use to construct narratives in my collage and mixed media works.

© 2014 by J Stacy Utley / Proudly created with Wix.com

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