Message Board provides a format for Billboard sized photographs of original artworks. Removed from the studio, gallery and museum by a process ofphotographic reproduction these sometimes intimate works become aggrandized when re-presented in a public setting. Works by Black, Chinese and White American artists from Baltimore, USA, along with an Irish Caribbean artist from Oxford, UK, will be shown in series. The common theme of these works is, in the words of Kerry James Marshall, a ‘Fusion of the Classical and the Vernacular’; these are works that are savvy,
sophisticated and ‘folk’. Often highly crafted, they are arguably the products of un-alienated labour, produced in regional centres by artists who think independently and whose ambivalent relationship to the mainstream contexts of art’s production and distribution allows them room to ‘breathe’.To make art in Baltimore is to work in a city with a formidable Black History including Billy Holiday’s ironic and hauntingly soulful songs of the 1930’s and Frederick Douglas’ ‘Narrative of the Life of an American Slave’ 1845. Douglas gives a searing description of his dehumanising experiences. The artists in this show, conscious of making art today at the margins of culture have positioned themselves with an eye to their own history. Like Zoë Charleton’s ‘Three Grace Tryout’ all of the artists in this show have had to run some considerable cultural distance.
Stephen Lee - Curator