WATERFALL VISION, 2015-2016
Black and white acrylic and gesso on 84 pieces of slate
Installed as two cascades: 280" x 36" x 1/4" (23' x 3' x 1/4")
Each slate: 20" x 12" x 1/4"
707 Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA (March-April, 2016) - Waterfall Vision, Solo Exhibition
Carnegie Museum of Art (May - August, 2016) - Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Juried Group Show, Winner of the Jack Buncher Award
About: WATERFALL VISION, 2015-2016 was created for my solo exhibition at 707 Gallery in Pittsburgh. The title came out of a dream I had been having whereby I woke up every morning beneath a waterfall. I began to paint/draw this with gouache and acrylic on slate and it went from one column to five to thirteen very quickly as it needed to be a long cascade. Then it needed to be two cascades. They span over 80' when added together. The work is informed and inspired by Niagara Falls - both its history as a site of freedom/slavery prior to and during the Civil War, and for its sheer volume and immense beauty and natural power. I felt I was drawing in my own specific lexicon that spoke to, in almost one continuous line, the complex and overwhelming narrative of the site historically and naturally. It is just a fraction of the story, but it was a way for me to connect to it physically and figuratively.
A little history about Niagara Falls: Prior to and during the Civil War, the Niagara River was one of the final destinations before entering Canada for persons escaping slavery in the South. The network of assistance for freedom seekers arriving in Niagara Falls included African Americans who worked as wait staff in the flourishing Niagara Falls hotel and tourism industry. According to J.H. French in 1860, “No places of equal size on the Continent have a greater amount of hotel accommodations than these.” The waiters who assisted freedom seekers on their journey to freedom in Canada made Niagara Falls one of the most important locations of the powerful struggle between slavery and freedom.
More history can be found here.
This body of work also includes WATERFALL VISION DRAWINGS, and WATERFALL VISION POSTCARDS.