Picking Blackberries, Nuts and Medicinal Plants (detail), 2000-07, Rag painting: cloth, thread, found objects, pen and ink, pencil, paint on paper, 19 x 49 in., Collection of the artist ©Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson.

Along Water Street: New Work by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson

January 31, 2009 - April 5, 2009
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries
*View installation shots from the exhibition!*

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.


Western Reserve PBS Documentary

In collaboration with the Akron Art Museum, Western Reserve PBS is producing a documentary on Robinson that includes insightful interviews with the artist, who will talk about the stories and experiences behind her works, as well as the teachers and students at who created the corresponding Miller South project. The program will be available On Demand at www.westernreservepublicmedia.org and is scheduled to air on the PBS station:

Sunday, February 1 at 10:30 pm
Wednesday, February 4 at 2 pm
Wednesday, February 4 at 8:30 pm
Saturday, February 7 at 5:30 pm

The documentary will also be shown in the Jerry and Patsy Shaw Video Box throughout the duration of the exhibition.

The Akron Art Museum and Western Reserve PBS collaboration is made possible by generous support from the Summa Foundation.


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