g.r.i.t.s. (girl raised in the south), 2013

Ezra and Cecil Zilkha Gallery, Middletown, CT

Elizabeth Verveer Tishler Prize recipient, Interview

g.r.i.t.s. addresses issues of races, class, and identity in the American South. I grew up in a small town in Southern Georgia where strip malls and sweet tea are an institution. As a black woman with more liberal views, I often felt disconnected from the dominant culture that I perceived as overly insular and stagnant. While I often felt constrained by the confines of small-town life, I also felt a deep sense of familiarity with the place I called home.

In a series of self portraits, surreal sculptures, and intricate watercolor paintings I take aim at characters from my youth, the cultural cliches, and southern vernacular. Blending nostalgia and repulsion, I exaggerate the truth in order to let humor tell a story of my experiences and memories as a black woman growing up in the deep south.