Pin It

Review: Initiating Cause and Effect 

Woodblock reduction prints by Katrina Andry at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

click to enlarge art_rec-1.jpg

Revered jazz musician Sun Ra claimed to have come to Earth from Saturn to lead black people to their true home on another planet. He was still earthbound when he died in 1993, but his belief — that black people might as well be from another planet as far as many Americans are concerned — still resonates today.

  Superficial stereotypes distort everyone's perceptions, but for African-Americans, the ghetto casts a long shadow no matter who they are or what they've accomplished. Many black artists have created their own caricatures of those negative cliches as a way of critiquing the critiques — a strategy that pervaded last year's 30 Americans expo of leading black artists at the Contemporary Arts Center. So much emphasis on one approach risks appearing redundant, but New Orleans native Katrina Andry's unusually large, briskly acerbic yet startlingly original woodblock prints are in a class by themselves.

  Andry's prints stand out for quirky innovations like role reversals of ghetto stereotypes featuring white people in blackface. For instance, When I Grow Up: The Ascribed Black American Dream (pictured) features a young black sleeping under a blanket of white youths in blackface brandishing drugs and knives amid the interwoven words, "When I grow up I dream of being ... a drug dealer ... NBA star ... homicidal single mother ..." in an anthem of desperate options. Andry also often substitutes a reddish "watermelon face" for blackface.

  The Jungle Bunny Gave You Fever depicts a Garden of Eden scene with a nude white woman in Playboy bunny ears and "watermelon face" embraced by a snake as white guys carry on like drug-crazed frat boys in a parody of the "oversexed black folk" cliche. Andry's stone lithograph self-portraits depict her as an angry black woman in meltdown mode, but in person she is gracious and demure, befitting an artist who recently made Art In Print magazine's top 50 printmakers list.

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in Art Review

More by D. Eric Bookhardt

Spotlight Events

  • Gomela/to Return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue @ Ashe Power House
    1731 Baronne St.

    • Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Jan. 29
  • Sea of Common Catastrophe @ University of New Orleans
    Robert E. Nims Theatre, Performing Arts Center, St. Anthony Drive off of 2000 Lakeshore Drive

    • Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 28
  • White Rabbit Red Rabbit @ St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
    583 Broadway St.

    • Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 27
    • Buy Tickets
  • Close Me Out @ Hi-Ho Lounge
    2239 St. Claude Ave.

    • First Saturday of every month
  • St. Claude Second Saturdays @ St. Claude Arts District
    2820 St. Claude Ave.

    • Second Saturday of every month
    • 4 going/interested

© 2017 Gambit
Powered by Foundation