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Nancy Lunsford and JoAnne McFarland: Mending

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February 15 - March 18, 2018
Opening Reception Thursday, February 15, 6 -8 pm

440 Gallery presents Mending an installation of work by Nancy Lunsford and JoAnne McFarland on view during Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

The title refers to both the mending of the political fissures of the civil rights and feminist movements, and the mending that follows trauma. “Mending” also echoes the constitutional amendments that granted freedom, citizenship and voting rights to former slaves and women. The title further refers to the current cultural climate in which racism and misogyny are once again dominant strains.

Lunsford's work consists primarily of small, meticulous portraits of women drawn from American History. Some of the subjects are familiar, while others are less known. Lunsford burns the portraits by hand onto wood, or draws them in black and white on black slate, mirroring the historical context of personal struggle and adversity women endure. The subjects are primarily teachers, doctors, abolitionists, and early feminists - Ida B. Wells, Mary Bethune, the Grimké Sisters.

McFarland's work is elegiac: restrained and quiet. Her Stilled-Life paintings are of a single object: a split pomegranate, an artichoke, a few spools of bright thread. They are diminutive vignettes, classically rendered with a deft touch. Draw closer, and one sees a faint, stenciled name on the surface that triggers a memory. Beside each miniature oil, stenciled directly onto the wall, the second part of the name completes the memory: Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Amadou Diallo. These pieces bear the reflective, honorific experience of a memorial, allowing us to remember the lost lives through the protective lens of beauty.

McFarland’s large oil of a reclining figure, Woman of Color, also draws us in with its beauty, but by leaving selective blue underpainting and scored lines, the sunbather’s smiling face and open, vulnerable sexuality appear marked and targeted. 

Lunsford is a co-founder of 440 Gallery, this is her fifth exhibition at the gallery. Her work is in collections in the US, Europe and Turkey.

JoAnne McFarland, artist, poet, and curator, is the former Exhibitions Director of A.I.R. Gallery. For more information, visit her website: joannemcfarland.com.

Earlier Event: February 11
One Breath Rising: Julia Ogilvie