This exhibition is a mid-career retrospective of Renée Stout's works from the mid-1980's to the present, Stout, an American artist, looks to Africa and the experiences of African-originating peoples in the New World to inform her found-object sculptures and mixed media assemblages. She draws on African-American traditions and from her own individual history to make sculptures, paintings and prints, her images relying heavily on contemporary African-American social concerns blending with forms and visual traditions of her African heritage.
Renée Stout's works employ personal and community knowledge to embrace the questionings of a diverse humanity. Stout's works have the simple but ambitious goal of gaining a better understanding of her own existence: in her contemporary culture, her heritage, and in the world at large. By seeking individual empowerment, she hopes to discern images and messages of universal meaning. Her works are charged by her belief in the positive power and efficacy of the ideas, values and practices she has absorbed and blended from her African and Diasporic heritage. She summons traditional African deities, Haitian gods, and voodoo priests to guide her efforts, and she creates and becomes fictional characters who embark on imaginative narratives and invent playful and provocative solutions to contemporary problems. Readers, Advisors and Store Front Churches includes works from the John and Maxine Belger Family Foundation. Most works are three-dimensional constructions in mixed media, and are accompanied by neon signs, wall-mounted assemblages and framed works on paper. The exhibit offers a valuable opportunity to share in the seeking by an intelligent and informed woman, of what it means to be African, American and simply alive.