Fresh from Julieanne’s Garden
Artist’s Statement The subject of this work is the lives and personalities of our ancestors, as well as the stories of our forbears who lived in the Southern United States in the 19th and early 20th century. Despite the hardships of those who had been enslaved or viewed as less than human, the pieces do not reflect bitterness or hostility, but rather an admiration for the resolution and resiliency of each individual. The stories are reflected in the lives of those who came to Chicago as a part of the Great Migration. The work moves on into the present, to show the strengths of the descendents of these people.
These sculptures are created individually in wax and cast in bronze, so there are no copies. My modeling technique involves the use of inflated materials to create shapes and achieve unique surfaces that are not typical of figurative art. This method involves collaging of a variety of natural patterns from many sources. The narratives which accompany each piece are my interpretations of historical texts I have read in my research of the times.
Many of the pieces are of women and children - in part because much of the personal history of the times was written by women, and in part because I sense their vulnerability - I hear their unspoken fears. I see my grandmothers, my aunts, my sisters in their faces. My wife and my daughters speak from their mouths. They seem to come alive to tell me their stories and their dreams. I admire their strengths in the face of a hostile world.
Throughout the work, certain articles are seen, such as fabric trappings, tools, and other objects that speak of their occupations and craft skills that were brought with them from Africa or developed on the plantation.
These pieces are a departure from my earlier sculpture. They are part of a completely new body of work, inspired by my travels South and my historical research, with a view toward how our history informs our future.