The big and beautiful Brooklyn Creative League hosts this group show of paintings and collages. Opens this Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6pm and runs through February.
One of the participating artists, Henrietta Mantooth, says of her work:
My painting can be described as “witnessing”. The work is often based on images and stories in the news, people who look out at us every day from the printed page and television screen but who are usually nameless — refugees, rebels, farmers, men and women who tend and defend their land, homes, children, animals and ideas. My intention is that they speak out from the paintings: “HERE WE ARE”.
I lived in Latin America for 18 years, learned Spanish and Portuguese, traveling to out of way places: Indian settlements and ancient ruins, Baroque villages and areas where Afro culture and rituals flourish, in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia and Guatemala. I accompanied rustic pilgrimages where people rode for days in the back of trucks, on horse and mule back and in ox carts in biblical fashion to make offerings, sell their wares and livestock, buy salt and other supplies, marry and baptize their children in group ceremonies.
These experiences still have a strong impact on my paintings and connect with my own raw upbringing in Missouri which varied from the pop culture of Kansas City streets, reflecting jazz, corrupt politics and racial inequality, and where my earliest visual and artistic influences were in the dime stores; to the Missouri farmland where my mother’s people raised grapes and apples and where my sister and I fashioned our toys and dolls from mud and sticks, hollyhocks, corn cobs and corn silk, concocting our paints from mulberries, beets, boiled onions, grasses and laundry blueing, and where gypsies parked their wagons along the oiled road in front of our small house. I was aware of the poverty and prejudice of those depression years, of the dust wrecked farm land, the losses and foreclosures, the stunted lives and lack of education, the Black ghettos and segregation. This early background still gives intensity and vision to my artistic endeavors and affects my approach to materials and techniques.
Painting is about bravery. For both artist and viewer. Art is emergency both in the sense of urgency and coming forth. Accept the unexpected and the surprise of the accidental and choose discovery over perfection every time. Rely on your hand to know what it is doing and respect your own process. It will be different from everyone else’s. This is my advice to myself.
Henrietta contemplating her own advice in her studio: