Kara Walker: Back of Hand

January 13 - March 25

A hand, like a sheet of paper, suggests a verso and a recto, a past and a future closely connected in their reference to one another. This exhibition presents works on paper by the American artist Kara Walker that deal directly in the contradictions of misremembered histories, most pointedly in her career-long representation of the horrors beneath the antebellum South’s genteel facades. In the drawings presented in the gallery, Walker mingles washes of watercolor, gouache, ink and graphite to create a series that calls forth the past at once mythological and real, ancient and contemporary. 

Walker’s influences are varied and vast, from the political sketches of Goya, to the caricatures of Daumier, to the medieval Book of Hours. The title of the exhibition suggests a rebuff, a slap in the face but also a familiarity, knowing something like the back of your hand. This paradox may relate to Walker’s own relationship to the South, having grown up outside of Atlanta in the shadow of Stone Mountain, a monument to the confederacy. A landscape can hold both a personal knowledge and a deeper wound infected with a collective history of violence. Here, Walker presents a more ambivalent reading: That which hurts you is often the very instrument you know most intimately.

This exhibition is generously supported by a gift from the Lupin Foundation.

ATHENAEUM
287 W Broad St
Athens, GA 30605, U.S.A 
University of Georgia
Lamar Dodd School of Art
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