June 1 - 26, 2018
“Linoleum Flowers” features selected printed works from Lo Smith and Nadia Wolff. Lo and Nadia are both black queer artists whose work embraces diasporic art making by disrupting dominant narratives of what black femme art is and can be within Eurocentric art communities in Providence, Rhode Island. Using ink and paper as their primary mediums, both artists create moments of black joy and resistance rendered visible by exploring themes of personal ancestry,ritual, revisionist history and memory manifesting.
Over a two week period, each artist meditated on 'exotic' bouquets of live flowers to uncover methods of responding to the prompt 'how does a flower become a pattern?'. While working independently of each other, the artists used laser cut stamping and experimental printmaking techniques on 100% cotton rag paper to explore their respective flowers. The manipulations, deconstruction, and natural decay of the flowers brought questions of liminal objects, invasive species’ roles in environmental degradation, and flowers’ relation to the cyclical nature of time. In rejecting the restraints of purely formal motivation, these works also contend with questions of how black queer bodies within institutional space inherently disrupt and finds themselves incapable of conforming to demands for objectivity.
Lo Smith is interested in material culture, self determined healing processes (also known as folk medicine), and the potential of memory and personal archiving to disrupt state and interpersonal violence on black bodies and queer bodies. In this series of work, Lo attempts to explore the practice of print as catharsis through pushing back on the common printmaking goal of creating perfect multiple from one stencil. In this process of ‘un-making prints’ , the artist begins to interrogate the limits and boundaries of what a printed art object is, and attempts to investigate it usefulness as a communicative tool. In this work and beyond Lo wants to further explore the possibility of individual printed objects as tools to connect folks, address trauma and foster healing.
Lo Smith was born and raised Cleveland, Ohio and as a result is both aggressively midwestern and unapologetically black. Lo is currently based out of Providence, Rhode Island while they pursue their MFA in Printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. Their work has recently been shown at the Cleveland Institute of Art, The Granoff Center for Creative Arts, Emerson College.They enjoy imagining radical futures, baking, and exploring botany.
Nadia Wolff’s work uses textiles, printmaking, performance interventions, and text to examine intersections of black queer femme identities, particularly within a Caribbean context. Their work is interested in the historic interactions between colonial religious and linguistic codes with the linguistic and religious forms— those of Kreyol and Vodou— that developed in opposition to these structures. In defining both black Caribbean femme bodies and the trajectories of Kreyol and Vodou as a queering of colonial definitions of femininity, sexuality, and language, their work hopes to present a healing re-imagining of the intersections of race, gender, religion, and place.
Nadia Wolff is an artist, designer, and writer originally from Miami, Florida, now based in Providence, Rhode Island. They are currently pursuing a BFA in Textile Design and a B.A. in Literary Arts in the Brown University/Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree program. They are a 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and have exhibited in Miami, FL at The Rubell Family Collection, The YoungArts Foundation, and House of Art Gallery; Washington, D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and Providence, RI at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts and the RISD Museum.