Monday, October 11, 2010
Exhibit review: Facets of Felt by Elizabeth Anyaa at Janette Kennedy Gallery in Dallas
The work speaks of home, of strangers in strange lands of warmth and comfort.
DALLAS It is evident upon entry into the Janette Kennedy Gallery at South Side on Lamar that artist Elizabeth Anyaa is completely inspired by environments of past and present. There is warmth and welcoming feeling to her work as cozy as grandma’s embrace. The maternal yet modern softness of her work is spread lusciously throughout the cove-like gallery.
Originally from West Africa, Anyaa was inspired by her surroundings to create her own style, which began her career in fashion. Gracing Dallas with her hopefully-permanent presence, her collection “Facets of Felt” is well received. Using what some textile historians consider the oldest fabric known to man dating back to 700 B.C., Anyaa brings to light something so familiar and at times so often forgotten.
Greeting guests and gawkers is “Dance Interrupted.” This smooth eggshell, muddled white cloud-like felt creation contains pitch black euphoric twig head dancers spiraling out of control, scattered softly throughout the fabric. It perhaps represents the diaspora of the chances we take in our creative lives.
“My Angel” is a stream of sanctuary composed of softly spun felt locks of creamy white safety. It stands waiting to engulf you like sun warmed sheets hanging from a wire clothesline, waving in the wind, rustling quietly.
“A Woman Defined” captures the suggestive unseen curves of a woman: demure, modest, and with simple, shameless, shapeless sexuality that is completely wearable, as if it were truly a dress.
“Memories” and “Majestic” both burst with color set in deep purples and blues, complemented by the suppleness of yellows and oranges throughout the course of the cushy cottony canvas. “Majestic” begins as a fire in ends with purple desire. How could a body not want to feel the scratchy warmth and tug of this woolen-felt, falling flawlessly at the feet? Both “Memories” and “Majestic” are colorful indicators of who the artist Anyaa was, who she is, and what she will be in the future.
“On the Wings of an Eagle” stands shyly at the end of the cumulative collection but reaches its black and bronze wingspan to beckon you into its fold. It is a majestic intrusion of elongated texture, taking an imaginative, magical night flight.
Anyaa has also proven that she is willing to step off the softer path and mix mediums with melodious methods. Her sculptures are instinctively intrusive, making no excuses for the hardness of their softened existence being interwoven with gentle coil of felt. It is as if they bulge and stretch out, hypnotically pulling in unsuspecting admirers into tangible forbidden fondling. Golden swollen vases sprout nappy twirls of chocolaty felt, thick and cool. A stoneware and rainbow felting sculpture flowers up like prehistoric petals with bold Jurassic orange, pinks, and greens, shimmering subtly to quell the harshness of the stone.
Anyaa has no fear in the naturally unusual, yet her felt renderings are pleasantly inviting. The alluring devices of her imagination are haunting, dull with sudden burst of crude color, attractive as a flame to dry cotton. Consumable. Her work is encouraging to the novice, the student and the seasoned expert. The work speaks of home, of strangers in strange lands of warmth and comfort. What could be more consoling than the visual ease of flowing felt softness in a hard, harsh world?
The exhibit runs through October 30.
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