Loud and Soft, Subtle and Bold: Five Black Oregon Artists at the Corvallis Arts Center
This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program. It is definitely the right time to find yourself walking up the steps of the Corvallis Arts Center.
In the Main Gallery, POW! Right between the eyes!The entire back wall is a show stopper of a mural painted live and on site by self-called Ghutter Artist Mosley Wotta. His vibrant graffiti and slam poetry inspired mural is part of the overall exhibition called Black Matter, curated by Tammy Jo Wilson as a way to shine a bright light on five Black Oregon Artists. Encountering Mosley’s mural is like a double shot of espresso--it wakes you up, pulls you in.
There are some other big voices in this show, too, notably a big series of large portraits by Jeremy Okai Davis, and compelling, message-driven graphics by Christine Miller.
The ceramic art of Maya Vivas is quiet and gestural. Maya works in smooth black stoneware. I found her soft and graceful natural swirls a pleasing contrast to the dark stoneware, and so lovely to look at, mysterious and sumptuous.
Jamila Clarke also has a quieter visual presence, but I could look at her cinematic photographs all day. Each one is like a folktale to which you need to bring your own knowledge of Black history for the story to be completed. For example, in the photo, “She Wrote Nothing At All,” a young Black woman, beautiful as a princess, is running her fingers longingly across the keys of an old school typewriter. She wrote nothing at all because she wasn’t allowed to be literate. Clarke’s work is detailed, engrossing, and compassionate.
I am so glad I got to see this show, and I hope you will seek it out, too. There will be a closing reception Saturday, June 19 with the curator, Tammy Jo Wilson, who deserves kudos for producing this fine show of five Black Oregon artists.
This is Sandy Brown Jensen for KLCC.