Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
Gift of Love, 1974-2002
This detail is cropped from full view, above.
© Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
What's "hogmawg?" It's a material her resourceful father taught Robinson to make in her childhood, when money was scarce. It's compounded of fat, mud, glue, lime, dye, and probably contains other natural elements. Make no mistake: Robinson is a major American artist who commands very high prices; she’s academically trained, a lover of Michelangelo, and a 2006 MacArthur Foundation “Genius" Grant winner. She can afford and knows how to use any material or implement she wants, but hogmawg remains a commonly-used material in her work.
Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson,
Mt. Vernon Avenue, North Side of Street 1900-1957/Page Three: Memory Maps, (detail) 1989-92
RagGonNon: paint on cloth with thread and buttons, 40 x 224 inches,
Collection of the artist.
|Author photos of Hampton Court, above, |
and Gift of Love right
Robinson’s imposing chair is a figurative object, yet of a single, solitary sort. The grandeur of its scale transcends its humble materials, setting its occupant apart as a throne would. Pictured left is a 17th-century throne in a reception room at Hampton Court, near London. The chair itself is austere, but placed in its grand setting. Robinson’s chair, by contrast, provides its own rich ornamentation and its own environment. No ermine is required of its occupant to make an impression on the visitor.
Yet on the left side of Gift of Love, carved into a large, wooden watercolor box attached to the frame, are the words, “EVERY DAY LIFE AND HISTORY OF AFRO AMERIKANS FEATURING COLUMBUS OHIO.” (Below.) Down the red staff on the right, below Robinson’s signature, is the further attribution to the series, “Legends of the Blackberry Patch.” The artist explicitly considers it part of her community series. This confuses the impulse to think it indicates of hierarchical prominence. Who would stand out in the Blackberry Patch? The Ice Man and Soothsayer have their own pulpits.
Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, My Lord What a Morning, 1994
Acrylic on wood with iron, steel and music boxes, 10 pieces, 8-10 ft height
Museum Purchase, Derby Fund
This detail is cropped from full view at top. NB black roots
crossing at the middle of the seat.
If we know Robinson's Gift of Love chair, we'll know a lot more about a point of view that gives love of family, community, and place deeper colors and even more weight of significance than we might otherwise realize.
|Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Gift of Love, Author photo|