Material Girls: The newest exhibit at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum features eight contemporary African-American female artists by Cara Ober
Crumbling bricks, slashed tires, plastic barbershop combs, old newspapers. They sound like items you’d expect to find in a landfill. But despite their lowly status, they can communicate cultural values, personal remembrances, and political statements when wielded by a skilled and purposeful hand. Ordinary materials transformed into extraordinary pieces of art is the emphasis of Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists, the newest exhibit at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, which features work by Maya Freelon Asante, Chakaia Booker, Sonya Clark, Torkwase Dyson, Maren Hassinger, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Joyce J. Scott and Renee Stout.
The sculptural works in Material Girls speaks directly to the ingenious output of black women throughout history, as well as the narratives, traditions, and techniques passed down from generation to generation. “The exhibition is really a testament to the kinds of lessons black girls learned from their mothers and grandmothers about strategic improvisation, making do, making it work, and doing all of this with great elegance and style,” explains the curator of the exhibit, Michelle Joan Wilkinson. The exhibit features contemporary artists in different stages of their careers, and offers a broad array of materials and expressions, but also a cohesion and collective expression of solidarity.