Marla McLeod | We the People (Our Love Will See Us Through)
With large-scale presence, McLeod’s figurative oil paintings address the absence of Black women as the subject of paintings throughout Western art history. She pairs the portraits with textile pieces, inspired by techniques, symbols, and traditions of Mali mud cloths. In these works, the artist develops a visual language through delicate details and intricate beadwork to acknowledge each model’s nuanced cultural identity, including inscribed words of protection from their mothers.
McLeod’s research into the various figures and subjects that have influenced the work--drag and ballroom culture, African textiles, and Black identity in America--becomes a quest of cultural and familial lineage and the recognition of herself within it. Throughout the exhibition, fragments of text and quotations become mediums for self-empowerment for the artist and her viewers. The title references a song on Nina Simone’s 1964 album “Broadway-Blues-Ballads.” Simone sang, “If some tears come our way, the sun skips a day, we still have each other, and our love will see us through.” In the midst of the weighted histories that have contributed to generations of dangerous perceptions surrounding Black bodies, McLeod’s approach mirrors this signal of hope.
September 14, 2021
5:30 - 7 pm (EST)
Marla McLeod will discuss her work in "We the People (Our Love Will See Us Through)" and the concepts concepts embedded in her portrait paintings and hand-sewn garments on display.