Pippy Houldsworth Gallery presents the first European solo exhibition of acclaimed African-American artist Faith Ringgold.
This follows her inclusion in the recent group exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at Tate Modern, London earlier this year. The show comprises an overview of the artist’s iconic ‘story quilts’ from the mid-1980s to the present, alongside a small selection of early paintings from the 1960s.
Throughout the 1960s, Ringgold produced politically charged paintings that shattered the notion of the American dream by highlighting racial and gender inequalities rife in society. A selection of portraits from this period will be on view, including several paintings from the monumental American People Series (1963-67).
During the 1970s, Ringgold played an instrumental role in the organisation of protests against institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York that had neglected the work of female artists and people of colour, forming a women’s group in 1970 that included Lucy Lippard as one of its members. The collective efforts of African-American artists such as Ringgold during this period have recently been the subject of a significant exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, New York titled We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85.
In the 1980s, Ringgold shifted her tone, moving away from the explicit works of the previous few decades. At the time, the artist was looking to appropriate a medium that was historically associated with femininity, yet could be implemented for subversive means. In 1980, Ringgold collaborated with her mother Willie Jones, a fashion designer and dress maker, on her first quilt. Now in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, Echoes of Harlem (1980) was shown in an exhibition titled The Artist and the Quilt alongside artists including Miriam Schapiro and Alice Neel. This collaboration with Ringgold’s mother proved to be an incredibly formative experience. Tapping into the rich tradition of African-American quilt-making, and combining it with her love of European painting and the written word, Ringgold went on to develop her now legendary ‘story quilt’ technique. That the artist’s great-great-grandmother Susie Shannon was born into slavery and produced quilts for plantation owners lends Ringgold’s work a deeper, personal register.
Ringgold’s solo exhibition at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery will bring together a rich selection of works that follow the artist’s passionate and poetic exploration of issues relating to race, gender and history since the 1960s.
With thanks to Dorian Bergen (ACA Galleries, New York) and Grace Matthews.
About the artist
Faith Ringgold (b. 1930) lives and works in New York. Ringgold’s work is included in many prominent public collections including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MoMA, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington; Baltimore Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Newark Museum and St. Louis Art Museum, to name a few.
Ringgold has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honours, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards (for painting and sculpture) and 23 honorary doctorates. Ringgold is professor emeritus at the University of California in San Diego, California.