Truth and Memory
Craven Allen Gallery
April 30, 2022 – June 25, 2022
Truth and Memory brings together the work of six contemporary artists of color living and working in North Carolina. Clarence Heyward, Juan Logan, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier, Renzo Ortega, Samantha Rosado, and Antoine Williams, range from well-established professionals to emerging talent. Collectively, their work reflects on and responds to personal, cultural, and historical memory.
The show opens April 30th with a reception from 5 to 7 pm, and continues through June 25th.
Truth and Memory was conceived by artist Beverly McIver, and curated by McIver and three of her students at Duke University, Marie-Louise Bennett, Nzinga Simmons and Emily Xu, where she is professor of art. As they write in their collective statement as curators, “Memory is central to identity formation. It forms how we define ourselves and our relationship to the world. It forges powerful bridges between the past and the present, enabling the bygone to infiltrate the contemporary.” Personal memory refers to an understanding of the past that has been experienced first-hand. Cultural memory refers to an understanding of the past that has been passed down generationally though oral traditions and other culturally specific customs. Historical memory refers to an understanding of the past informed by narratives about specific historical periods and events. Working both abstractly and figuratively, the artists presented in this exhibition create works that query and reflect on both personal and collective memories –– grappling with the ways in which the past continues to inform the present.”
The show features a catalog, available at the gallery.
Antoine Williams – “My interdisciplinary practice is an investigation of power, perception, and fear as they relate to institutional inequality. I have created a mythology about the complexities of contemporary Black life. My artwork is influenced by social science fiction and sci-fi literature from such authors as Octavia Butler and H.P. Lovecraft. Themes in science fiction, such as relationships to what may be considered a foreign or alien body, can be analogous to the many Black experiences in America.” (https://antoinewilliamsart.com/home.html)
Clarence Heyward – “My art practice challenges stereotypes and myths, takes on social commentary, critiques perceptions, and creates dialogues all through the lens of the Black American male experience. As a Black man, husband, and father living in America, my paintings draw from life experiences. It contains personal and collective narratives that position black bodies in the forefront and examines the reinterpretation of black existence in imagery addressing the notion of belonging, inclusion, our perceived presence and absence in America.” (https://www.clarenceheyward.com)
Juan Logan – “Mixed-media painter, sculptor, and installation artist Juan Logan draws from contemporary culture and the Civil Rights Movement to create pieces that reflect on racial and institutional power structures. The imagery in Logan’s material landscapes walks the line between abstraction and representation. His pieces are often tied to sites of commemoration, and Logan asks viewers to consider their social responsibility in the wake of tragedy and oppression.” (http://www.juanlogan.com)
Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier – “I am an artist and maker of things whose work, deeply rooted in the southern United States and utilizes primary source documents and photographs to examine family histories. I work both figuratively and abstractly and am inspired by the spiritual traditions of Western Africa, stories from people that I meet during my travels, and personal and public archives. My work often provides an avenue to explore sensitive political issues that include the environment, race, gender, beliefs, tradition and culture through the universal concept of ancestry and memory.” (https://lynnlinn.net)
Renzo Ortega – “My immigrant experience as a Peruvian artist in The United States of America has showed me that a border is a concept that exists because of its ability to be crossed. Different groups of people have inhabited the continent for centuries. My visual language seeks to use the figurative tradition in order to build bridges for people to cross, while at the same time opening spaces for viewers to make their own interpretations. It is an invitation to be part of a history; I believe exchange is the key not only to preserving cultures but also to evolving traditions to fit contemporary experience. I think it is important to re-value the art made in our communities. Art and traditions of many nations exist in the diverse cities of The United States of America. This phenomenon generates cultural exchange between our population, and this is necessary for the Country’s development and identity. For this reason as an artist, I have the responsibility to connect with my community. Art sets out cultural models in a continuous renovation. Our identity is the fusion, our art expressions are not a characteristic of the immigrant nostalgia. We are a living culture, and my art commitment is about that.” (https://renzoortega.com)
Samantha Rosado – “In my paintings I tell stories of identity, heritage, and family. My work has been described as pages from a journal, giving honest descriptions of family dynamics surrounding the intersections of sexuality and religion, children and parents, siblings and in-laws, and the culture of Puerto Ricans living on the mainland and on the island. In these family portraits each component carries personal meaning for me, which I attempt to convey with a sense of humor through placement and characterization.” (https://sa5mantharosado.voog.com)
Clarence Heyward – Clarence Heyward (American, b.1983) was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He is a painter and collagist whose work explores notions of the Black American experience. His work investigates cultural truths, challenges stereotypes, and questions identity. Clarence believes it’s important to “paint his truth” and uses persons of color as subjects in his work as homage to his culture. Beginning his journey as a full-time artist in 2019, he is best known for his dynamic and fresh take on figurative art. Heyward relocated to North Carolina to study Art Education at North Carolina Central University.He has shown his work nationally and has been featured in venues including the 21c Museum of Durham, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for Cultural Arts, the Block Gallery Raleigh, the Nasher Museum of Art and the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh. Heyward was the recipient of The Brightwork Fellowship residency at Anchorlight, Raleigh in 2020, the Emerging Artist in Residence at Artspace, Raleigh in 2021 and was the NC State Artist in Residence 2022. His work is in the collections of several notable private and public institutions. He currently lives and works in Raleigh, NC.
Juan Logan – Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Juan Logan now lives and works in Belmont, North Carolina. Logan’s artworks address subjects relevant to the American experience. At once abstract and representational, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos address the interconnections of race, place, and power. They make visible how hierarchical relations and social stereotypes shape individuals, institutions, and the material and mental landscapes of contemporary life. Juan Logan is currently the Conservation Manager at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Project. This project is actively restoring thirty-one large-scale sculptures created by artist Vollis Simpson for the city of Wilson, NC.
Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier – Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier has been documenting the American South since 1989 and works both figuratively and abstractly. She researches and collages photography, painting, and writing, with primary source documents from diaries and letters, which she incorporates into her image-based mixed-media quilts, 2-D and 3-D sculptures, and mixed media works. With an aim of re-examining and re-framing historical figures, she engages her subjects through dialogue focusing on their life stories and historical incidences attached to place. She is inspired by African-American and indigenous cultural traditions as well as stories from people that she has met during her travels, which include international residencies. Her vibrant paintings explore personal investigations into movement and transformation often drawn from concepts surrounding ancestry, memory and written language.
Renzo Ortega – Renzo Ortega (Lima, Peru 1974) is an artist based in Carrboro, North Carolina. Renzo received a BFA in painting from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes del Peru (1999), studied at the Art Students League of New York (2000-04), and has his MFA in painting from HunterCollege (2014). His artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows in the United States and Perú and has been commissioned to create public art projects and community murals. His recent solo exhibitions have been at LUMP Gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina (2021), Espacio Venancio Shinki ICPNA in Lima-Perú (February 2020), Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia (March 2019), The Power Plant Gallery at Duke University (February 2019), and at The John and June Allcott Gallery at UNC Chapel Hill (January 2018). Renzo’s artwork has been exhibited in museums such as the NASHER Museum of Art (Durham, North Carolina, 2022),Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art SECCA (Winston-Salem, North Carolina 2020), the Works on Paper: 2017 Exhibition at The Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, in the S-Files Biennial at El Museo del Barrio (New York 2007) and Queens International Biennial at the Queens Museum in 2006. He is a recipient of the 2018-2019 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award, 2018-2019 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant Durham Arts Council, 2018 Orange County Arts Commission Artist Project Grant, and 2016 Queens Council on the Arts New Work Award. In 2013, as a Kossak Travel Grant recipient, Renzo traveled to Berlin tostudy German Expressionism, and also in 2015 traveled to Honduras as a part of the U.S. Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Envoy Program. He partook in the Visiting Artist Residency at the Rubenstein Arts Center at Duke University in 2019, and In 2020, he was the inaugural artist of the New Wave Art Wknd artist-in-residence program in West Palm Beach.
Samantha Rosado – Samantha Rosado is a Puerto Rican, cisgendered, gay woman who works primarily with oil painton canvas. Though she was drawn to the arts in her youth, she began oil painting after graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 2015. In Summer 2016, she attendeda Puerto Rican tiple (guitar) making workshop where she met Pablo Delano, former Director of Fine Art at Trinity College. After observing her work/process, she was offered a Hilla Rebay Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship in Fine Art and Studio Art. At Trinity College, Samantha found interest in the challenge of color, space development, and compositional relationships. She carried this interest through her assistantship at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (2017), and her MFA at Louisiana State University (2018-2021). Her work is featured in New American Paintings, South Edition No. 148. Samantha currently holds a studio in Charlotte, NC at the McColl Center for Art & Innovation. She teaches Painting at Central Piedmont Community College and community workshops at theMcColl Center. Samantha is a painter, poet, and storyteller. Her work is about identity, family culture, and relationships. She uses humor to create captivating imagery and rhythm to guidethe viewer through a story of directional line and color. Painted figures lock eyes with onlooking viewers, pulling them into these staged dreamscapes. The audience gains understanding while reconsidering their circumstances.
Antoine Williams – Antoine Williams is an interdisciplinary artist who is heavily influenced by speculative fiction,history and his working-class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina. An artist-educator, Antoine received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and his MFA from UNC Chapel Hill. He helped start the God City Art Collective in Charlotte, where he participated in a number of socially engaged, community-based art projects. He has exhibited in a number of places, including at the Mint Museum of Art, Michigan State University, Columbia Museum of Art, Smack Mellon Brooklyn, 21c Museum, Elsewhere Museum, Prizm Art Fair, The McColl Center of Art and Innovation, the California Museum of Photography as well as many other venues. He has taken part in residencies at The Center for Afrofuturist Studies, The Hambidge Center, and in 2022is slated to attend the Joan Mitchel Residency in New Orleans. Williams’ was also a part of the 2021 Drawing Center viewing program, He is also a recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Award for Painters and Sculptors and the 2018 Harpo Foundation Grant Award. His work is in the collection of the Mint Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art. He’s given talks at Auburn University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Williams is an associate professor of art at Guilford College.