Along Water Street: New Work by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries
Columbus, Ohio, artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (b. 1940) has been creating sumptuous mixed media paintings and sculptures for more than half a century. These document the stories she has gleaned from her elders, her travels throughout the world and her study of African and African American history. Her recent series of rag paintings entitled Along Water Street is based on the stores her Uncle Alvin told her as she was growing up and on old maps of Ohio she studied at the library. The artist describes the series as “going back and forth in history” with references to early Native American and African inhabitants who may have populated the Americas hundreds of years ago. Included in this exhibition are twelve rag paintings, a watercolor of her Uncle Alvin and a sixty-foot-long, cloth and mixed media RagGonNon. A RagGonNon is Aminah’s word for her unique, complex cloth-based pieces. They take years to research and create, in part because they continue to evolve in response to others’ experience of them. Encrusted with buttons, beads, handmade dolls, spirit packets and music boxes, this RagGonNon echoes the themes of creation, discovery, migration and community explored in the rag paintings. Aminah is a 2004 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur award and was the subject of a major 2003 retrospective exhibition that toured nationally. Her first solo museum show was at the Akron Art Museum in 1987. This exhibition was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art. Its presentation in Akron is made possible by a generous gift from the Folk Charitable Foundation.