IDENTITY, RACE, DIVERSITY, HUMANITY:
THE CREATIVE WORKS OF LETITIA ELDREDGE
A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center - Special Collections
October 11 - November 16, 2012
Monday - Friday: 9:30am - 12:30pm & 1:30pm - 4:30pm
Each day in studio begins on an inquisitive note…with a Writing exercise. Through writing, I search the depths of heart’s and mind’s “inner spaces” for clarity and decisions which also may produce concepts for visual art. For me, Visual Art, next to Poetry, creates a declarative symbolic depiction of the same source of intuitive thoughts. Throughout my life this meditative practice has supplied my art with motive and information. I believe that art creation, in all media, offers the fresh opportunity to look at the world through new eyes, and speak to the world in new languages directly connected to Soul.
Why Clay? On the subject of ceramics, although the enthusiasm I have for this medium is difficult for me to explain, I have intellectually whittled it down to the simplicity in attraction to life’s fundamentals: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I presume it is the elementary composition I am innately drawn to in exploring with this medium. The clay object gives to the creator its opportunity for permanence, richness and beauty. Its fluid modeling properties, with its capacity for intimacy, offers functionality which can engender a spiritual component into daily life applications.
Why Masks? Masks partner clay with the dance of everyday life. In my Art, the mask form supplies a framework for psychological components—whether it is a personae, a church, a landscape, a space idea, or any metaphoric reference, it will take on an anthropomorphic aspect, linking it to live humanity. The use of masks is a transformative concept. For example, once the mask “identity” animates, that image begins to operate as face of Man. However it is perceived is ultimately how it was conceived, totally subject to the impressions of the viewers.
Why Performance Art? The Performance Art medium, or dance design, as I refer to it for my own purposes, functions as a vehicle for unique live content. During this artistic process, pure imagination crosses thresholds in real time that bond the artist and viewer with emotion and memory. Whereas a sculptor of three-dimensional art might use primary elements such as Earth, Air, Fire, and Water to manage her ideas into metaphor, she is also separating her personal essence from that projected form. My goal has been to aim for an experience which will carry all the participants through the perceptual gateway of reality, and into an alternative reality. By igniting transformation, performance art opens the channels for the active archetypal energies to play. A mask without the actor represents its potential dance.
Why ”Identity, Race, Diversity, and Humanity”? This theme addresses the phenomena of psychological social fabrications, where situation and circumstance controls context along with our basic human potentials— we are thus created as we are seen; likewise, we are emulations of what we see. Our soul identities are reflections. Influences urge a character’s formation. This exhibition, “Identity, Race, Diversity and Humanity,” presents various faces of personality. Pictured here in ceramic masks, drawings, paintings, and notebooks we find identity constructs, personalities. We find the dance of humanity.
About the Exhibit
Letitia Eldredge is an internationally exhibited artist who expresses herself through painting, ceramic art, story-telling, performance art and dance. For the last 40 years, her diverse work has been enjoyed in places far and near, coming from home studios in Texas and Colorado, on to Mexico, France, Denmark and Ukraine. Letitia studied art beginning at Sophie Newcomb College, Tulane University; then moving forward to the University of Texas at Austin and the Cleveland Institute of Art for her BFA. Most recently, 2006-9, Letitia produced an intense body of work at Texas Christian University, where she reframed her multimedia arts in light of Ancient Female Archetypes with Dr. Mercedes Olivera. Letitia has been awarded many grants and fellowships, notably from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Synergy Trust, and the International Theatre Institute. She participated as an artist-in-residence in numerous communities that included the American Center in Paris, France, and a two-year guest artist studio in the resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Her work has been presented by museums, libraries and in galleries throughout the United States, Europe and Mexico.
Through her bold use of color and uncanny portrayal of energy and movement, Letitia shares her “concrete faith in art as a spiritual necessity, an essence for unveiling the truth.” Her journey as a woman and artist leads to a virtual world pictured in revelations from the mind’s eye. This work is magical and vibrant. It utilizes a cascade of color to shape provocative and intensely spiritual images, often erotic and personal. This honesty plunges the viewer into an emotional core of human mythological themes common to us all.
Through her inquiries into the psychology of the spirit, Letitia’s ideas course through feminism, identity history, diversity and humanity — and are in concert with the work of this year’s Writer’s Voice guest, Suzan-Lori Parks. There is an aesthetic confluence between these two artists at Southwestern University which is both natural and fitting to our potent times.