The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson

THE ART OF
KEVIN BLYTHE SAMPSON

7/23/12

SPIRIT – FIRE – SHAKE! Focal objects by Renée Stout, Kevin Sampson, and Odinga Tyehimba


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Gregg Museum of art & design
2012-2013 Exhibitions



SPIRIT – FIRE – SHAKE!
Focal objects by Renée Stout, Kevin Sampson, and Odinga Tyehimba
September 27 – December 16, 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, September 27, 6-8pm

SPIRIT – FIRE – SHAKE! presents works by three African-American artists that evoke shrines and altars, but are perhaps best described as “focal objects,” a term Tibetan Buddhists use to refer to physical things that encourage spiritual concentration.
Renée Stout is a Washington DC-based artist who employs a variety of media including painting, drawing, mixed media sculpture, photography and installation in an attempts to create works that encourage self-examination, introspection and the ability to laugh at the absurdities of life. Her alter ego Fatima Mayfield, a fictitious herbalist and fortuneteller, allows her to role play in order to confront the issues, whether it’s relationships, social ills, or financial woes, in a way that is open, evocative, and often humorous.
Newark, New Jersey, artist Kevin Sampson was a former cop and composite sketch artist for over 19 years. He received numerous commendations for his work as a police artist and a medal for valor as a detective. But the death of his third child affected him more deeply than anything he’d seen in the line of duty. After losing several other family members he began making “memorials” from found objects not only to them but also to friends who had died of AIDS or drugs, erecting them in the tough neighborhoods where he lived.
Odinga Tyehimba was born in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, grew up in Chicago and California, and served in the US Army before settling in Durham, NC. At hip-hop gatherings he found himself impressed by the African-themed staffs that many of the emcees wielded, and soon began carving canes and staffs of his own. These soon morphed into larger figures and assemblages that incorporate personal, political and mythological symbolism reflecting African traditions and mainstream Christianity as well as other belief systems like Voodoo and Santeria.