Tameka Norris: Almost Acquaintances
New Orleans-based artist Tameka Norris explores emotion, memory and space through her latest exhibition Almost Acquaintances, in which she addresses her relationship with her hometown post-Hurricane Katrina.
The artist’s paintings – composed of oil-paint sketches on stretched fabrics – serve as a tender tribute to all those who were affected by the hurricane, which flattened areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. Her works act as an autobiographical investigation into the social and emotional impact of the redevelopment of New Orleans. As old buildings are torn down and new developments pop up, Norris finds herself capturing areas of the city that were once familiar to her but no longer exist, forcing the artist at times to produce paintings through memory.
Interestingly Norris predominately paints buildings, selecting architectural structures that appear to act as physical representations of identity and nostalgia for a time now gone. The patchwork-like effect binds her to tradition and a sense of the past, yet the fragility of the combined fabrics appears to represent the perilous nature of buildings and communities affected by Katrina.
Norris’ multi-disciplinary approach includes a video performance in which the artist recreates Michelangelo Pistoletto’s sculpture Venus of the Rags, 1967-1974. Norris replaces Pistoletto’s Roman goddess sculpture with herself (a black female figure) in an attempt to critique western representations of the black figure in the history of art. Though interesting to watch, the subject is one that has been previously touched on time and again in contemporary art and literature, and somewhat diverts from the main theme of the exhibition.
Upcoming projects by the artist include further autobiographic works; a collaboration with artist Garrett Bradley for Prospect 3 Biennial in New Orleans.
Tameka Norris: Almost Acquaintances is at Ronchini Gallery until 29th March 2014, for further information visit here.