Saturday, May 9, 2009

“My Soul To Keep” An Exhibition of Paintings and Contemporary Ethnic Dolls of Barbara Tyson Mosley

image Ohio Valley Art League is proud to host this exhibit. in conjunction with the W. C. Handy Festival, June 10, 2009 to August 1, 2009.  The exhibit will be at the Henderson County Public Library in Henderson KY.

Please read the artist interpretation below:

The tranquil paintings and unusual doll images in “My Soul To Keep” are just a sample of the way in which artist Barbara Tyson Mosley approaches canvas and needle to create works of art inspired by the unexpected twists and turns of life circumstances, while celebrating cultures of the world.

Barbara began working with fabrics nearly 20 years ago following an operation, which confined her to her bed for several weeks. Wanting to work on her art, yet unable to leave her bedroom, she began playing with fabric scraps of various weights, textures, and colors, overlapping and hand stitching them into loosely formed shapes, flexible enough to become the foundation for non-wearable art kimonos. They were readily accepted as part of the Evans-Tibbs Collection and presented in a number of exhibitions at The Evans-Tibbs Gallery in Washington, D.C. and then throughout United States, as part of the Smithsonian Institutions Traveling Exhibitions (SITES).

Inspired by the reception of her work, and later seeing the non-traditional dolls of artist and long-time friend, Liani Foster, she began toying with the idea of creating a non-conventional doll, taking her fabric art to yet another level. Using an upside-down triangle, elongated and topped with a circle, this shape became the premise for an armless doll waiting for public embrace.

The dolls soon became a comforting reminder of the need to hold on and gently cling to an age-old object while celebrating the ritual magic and spiritual tradition of ethnic dolls from around the world. The “contemporary ethnic dolls”, as she calls them, do not belong to any one specific category, or group of people, but capture the ceremonial tradition of Native American, Inuit, African, Asian, and African-American peoples.

The subtle yet vibrant nature of Barbara’s landscape abstracts harmoniously emphasize the relationship between earth, sea, and sky. However you view them, you visually see a connection and kind of interplay between them, often fooling the eye while arousing question in the mind of the viewer.

You see the sky from shore or the shore from the sky. You see an horizon line and yet do not know if in fact it is a horizon line when you turn the painting in an upside down direction. The sea becomes the calming factor throughout each work, as reflections of light dance amidst ribbons of color.

Light changes in the western skies of Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were the primary inspiration for these paintings. Working in assembly-line fashion, Barbara quickly works on the canvas, manipulating the color changes as quickly as the light changes from her visual memory (or from photographic stills taken at every degree of change in the sky).

Once, while in Johnson, Vermont, she photographed multiple, minute-by-minute light changes for nearly an hour, non-stop, until the suns light faded into the darkness of dusk.

Another example of playfulness on the canvas is found by turning the paintings vertically. Totally removing the idea of earth, sea, and sky, an illusion of textile patterning is obvious and suggestive of Middle Eastern or African style and design, thereby, forcing the eye to see something totally unexpected.

The “Tranquility Series” reflects the serenity of a sunset, the excitement of nature’s palette, and the vibrant color interaction of harmony and light.

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