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Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

Sandra Sider

Folk art, or vernacular art (specific to a group or place), developed in Colonial America out of necessity when individual households produced most of the utilitarian objects required for daily life. Using traditional tools and techniques, many of these makers created pieces in which aesthetics came to play a substantial role, through form, ornamentation, or both. In some groups, notably the Shakers, function was emphasized, with pure form evoking an aesthetic and spiritual response. Religious beliefs have informed American folk art, such as the saints and other figures (Santos) carved and painted by Catholic settlers in the Southwest as early as 1700. Although the majority of folk art is now anonymous, the oeuvre of numerous individual artists can be determined by their distinctive styles or marks. Folk art is often considered within the field of ‘material culture’, with an emphasis on the object’s context rather than its creator. Most American folk art falls within three categories: painting and cut paper, textiles and fibre, and three-dimensional work such as furniture, carvings, metalwork, ceramics, and outdoor installations....

Article

Native American (Eastern Band of Cherokee), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1957, in Baltimore.

Multimedia artist, photographer, illustrator, basket-weaver with paper.

Shan Goshorn, given the Cherokee Wolf Clan name of Yellow Moon, began training in silversmithing at the Cleveland Institute of Art and transferred to the Atlanta College of Art for her final year, receiving a BFA degree in painting and photography (double major) in ...

Article

Togolese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 1950, in Pedakondji.

Painter, sculptor, engraver. Murals.

El Loko trained at first as a textile designer in Accra from 1965 to 1968, and then in graphic arts at Düsseldorf's Staatliche Kunstakademie alongside Beuys, Crummenauer and Heerich. He lived and worked in Duisburg in Germany and in Pedakondji in Togo....

Article

El Loko  

Christine Mullen Kreamer

(b Pedakondji, 1950).

Togolese painter, printmaker and sculptor, active in Germany. He trained as a textile designer in Accra and Tema, Ghana, before moving to Germany in the early 1970s. He studied fine arts at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie with Beuys, Crummenauer and Heerich. His work includes a number of linoleum cuts in which birds’ wings, claws and beaks are combined with masks, faces and other elements in striking compositions. More recent mixed-media paintings and prints juxtapose images and abstract shapes executed in earthen tones. In works on paper and wooden sculpture dating from the early 1990s, sand and earthen pigments are combined to create texture and a sense of movement and depth. Many of his works are abstract colour fields composed of striking red-orange, yellow ochre and slate blue tones that outline geometric forms and, at times, stylized faces of partial humans. Eyes, crown, conical human heads and projecting horns are familiar elements, as is a mottled surface pattern. These same qualities are repeated in wooden sculptures, some exploring curvilinear and geometric volumes of the human form, others creating more two-dimensional, openwork, geometric patterns in sculptures that resemble commemorative or totemic wooden posts. El Loko has had numerous one-man exhibitions, primarily in Germany, and group shows in Germany, Switzerland, England, Togo, Ghana and the USA....

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Albesa, Lérida, 1934).

Mexican multimedia and textile artist of Spanish birth. Palau’s parents were exiled during the Franco regime in Spain, and she moved to Mexico in 1940, where she became a naturalized citizen. From 1955 to 1965 she studied at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura “La Esmeralda” of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) in Mexico City, later traveling to San Diego and Barcelona to specialize in tapestry. In the 1970s she was one of the first artists in Mexico to make explicit her concerns about women and their relationship with art. In her work she explored different techniques and media such as engraving, painting, sculpture, and above all tapestry, conducting material experiments that invoke the expressiveness of textiles and their symbolic character in indigenous traditions and rituals. Palau approached her materials not only as formal exploration; through her work, she tried to show how the materiality can express certain social relations with ritual and magical bonds. In this sense, her work is an exploration of physical and social space....

Article

Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....

Article

Teresa del Conde

revised by Deborah Caplow

(b Juchitán, Oaxaca, Jul 17, 1940).

Mexican painter, sculptor, textile designer, printmaker, and collector. He grew up in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, an area that was rich in legends, rites, and beliefs springing from a strong Zapotec tradition predating the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He began to draw and paint at a very early age, studying first in Oaxaca, where he produced linocuts in the graphic workshop run by Arturo García Bustos (1926–2017). In 1957 he moved to Mexico City to attend the Escuela de Diseño y Artesanía of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. After holding his first solo shows of gouaches and prints in 1959 in Fort Worth, Texas, and Mexico City, he moved in 1960 to Paris, where until 1963 he studied printmaking under Stanley William Hayter. While continuing to work within Western traditions, he became interested in the art of Asian cultures and in ancient Mexican art, especially in those forms that were not officially sanctioned....