Coleman at the Carver

(I have always had a predilection for alliteration.) Christina Coleman is showing a selection of past works at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center through August 25th. She caught my eye with her enormous spiderweb at UT’s MFA show at the VAC. Then again with her bobby pin work (below) that she showed again at the Carver.

Additional works:

The second was made with hair gel.

Hair products, hair pins, hair ties. Coleman’s use of these are strikingly beautiful for what darkness I’ll bet lies beneath it all. When given the opportunity to speak about the work, Coleman thanked everyone for coming out. She didn’t talk about the work, or what motivated her work, and I want to know what drives her work very badly.

It wasn’t the time or place to discuss, I suppose. Coleman isn’t loud, but those sharp combs of those colorful spears weren’t meant to be quiet. I sense cultural and gender frustration, and I wonder how useful it is to be quiet. I still think it still needs to be brought to the surface with elbowing, with harsh words, and most of all, discussion.


There was another work that I did not photograph. An arch wrapped in synthetic hair. It was meant to be in the room; however, after installation hiccups, needed extra support and lined the perimeter of the room. The image above shows a version of it. Coleman has since added bands of pink and purple and I hope to see it given the space it needs to breathe some day.

While standing in the exhibition, I felt a pang of something familiar. A sort of out of place-ness that has come and gone quite frequently throughout my life. I was surprised to feel it at all, it had been so long. But the speakers who introduced the artists mentioned the Carver’s position as a cultural center. There was something in the way that said it that made me feel excluded. I did not feel unwelcome in the least bit, but I knew that their culture was something different from mine, yet I don’t want to believe everything is still so easily categorized. A subject for another time, I suppose.


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