Home Girl Don't Play
“I am not fleeing from reality, but putting it right up on the wall, in a pretty and colorful frame, and asking the viewer to LOOK, and READ, and DEAL WITH this reality -- at least acknowledge it by the mere catching this work of art in your peripheral vision for a few seconds -- if you can’t stand to look at it for any longer -- before you quickly go on to the next piece when you realize what this one is about.” -- Maureen Kelleher
On November 1st, 2007 Safe-T-Gallery will present “Home Girl Don’t
Play” a collection of the painted, sanded, gouged, carved, collaged and
en-nobled wooden wall panels created by New Jersey artist and Hurricane
Katrina evacuee Maureen Kelleher. Kelleher combines paint, found
objects, photographs and hand carved texts to examine issues of race,
prejudice, women and understanding, all from a unique and highly
Concentrating on images important to African-American life, (ranging from portraits of Harriet Tubman to a scene of a woman’s lynching) and adding textual components from sources as wide ranging as James Baldwin and the reminiscences of eccentric ancestors, the works are visually enticing and intellectually challenging, but ultimately, extremely personal meditations on race and life in America.
New Orleans writer RL Bickham has written about Kelleher’s work, “These pieces ... are important work in the evolution of specifically American art, not least of all because the Black/White dichotomy in American culture has proven to be a seemingly irreducible one. This art in part questions that immovable wall and silence. ... It is important that this work was created by a white person, and more importantly that it could have been created by a black person. This work as a whole pushes at the accepted boundaries of Black and White because of this fact.”
Maureen Kelleher was born in 1959 and was raised on various military bases, mostly in the south. She graduated from the University of Florida and lived in New Orleans until 2005. Although she has been a quiltmaker all her life, she had no interest in art until 2001 when 36 hours alone in a hurricane with a biography of James Baldwin led to “James” a stark dialogue between the words of Baldwin and advice given her by her father James.
Maureen Kelleher’s work has been exhibited nationally and Safe-T-Gallery is pleased to be presenting “Home Girl Don’t Play” the artist’s first one-person show. “Home Girl Don’t Play” will run from November 1 to December 1, with an opening reception for the artist on Thursday, November 1 from 6 to 8 PM, to which all are invited.