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Exhibition: Lurlynn Franklin: Colored Cartoons in Undeniable Blackness
September 10, 2014 @ 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
The Wright Art Center Gallery at Delta State University opens its new season with an exhibition of Lurlynn Franklin’s work entitled Colored Cartoons in Undeniable Blackness. The exhibition opens on Thursday, August 21 with a public reception from 5:00 to 7:00 pm and a reading of the artist’s poetry at 6:00 pm. Lurlynn Franklin is a Memphis artist, poet, playwright and educator whose work combines visual images, poetry and performance to address current issues. As the artist states: “Colored Cartoons in Undeniable Blackness is a collection of story quilts and poetry which are distinctly African-American in content, addressing the thin line drawn between stereotypes and truths. Both the writings and the visuals lend themselves towards social commentary, deliberately falling short in being hardcore political, the work lightly and deceptively skims the surface of personal politics, focusing on the mainstreams of modern “colored” life with humor and sarcasm.” Franklin’s colorful paintings draw on the tradition of African-American story quilts and the collages of noted African-American artists such as Romare Bearden – Franklin in fact refers to her paintings as quilts. In keeping with her inspiration, she incorporates non-traditional materials such as fabric, wall paper and clothing into her paintings. At the same time, her collage technique underlines the message of the images, as Franklin put it: “The quilts, like any funny story told in retrospect at a black family reunion, are exaggerations, coloring life brightly with candy hues, juxtaposed and warmed with sepias and browns, the eclectic materials and pieces of the tale, pulled together in the end, framing the whole of the story.” Like the stories told at family reunions, Franklin considers her work open to reinterpretation and thinks of it as “a work in progress” Like Franklin’s book Fabled Truths, published by Xlibris in late 2013, which combines a series of critical self-portraits with poetic essays, Colored Cartoons in Undeniable Blackness will present her poetry alongside her paintings. For Franklin writing and painting are inextricably linked. She begins each painting by choosing a title and the work evolves from there. As the artist explains, “The creative writings are not narratives of the quilts, but are more like side glances at the colored cartoons they portray, sharpened and lyrical in their language” Franklin holds a MA in art education and a MFA in painting from Memphis College of Art. Her work has been shown nationally, most recently at the Caritas Village Community Collective and Dixon Gallery and Gardens, both in Memphis, TN. She has received numerous awards and recently was recognized by the Tennessee Arts Commission for her work. Colored Cartoons in Undeniable Blackness is on view until September 26. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m -4:30 p.m. For more information, please contact the Art Department at 662-846-4720.