September 10 - October 30, 2021
From the Fort Worth Community Arts Center:
“CIVIL LIES, a two-person art exhibition at the Ft Worth Community Arts Center, opens September 10 and runs through October 30, 2021. Texas-based interdisciplinary artists Heyd Fontenot and Erin Stafford each present their complex artworks in a thematic and aesthetic dialog. Visually delightful, yet politically provocative, the artists tread dangerously through a minefield of questioning power structures, nationalism, history, gender, and the false promises of comfort-in-conformity.
Recognized as a figurative painter and former director of the artists’ residency CentralTrak, Heyd Fontenot presents a continuous 68-foot wall-scaled painting featuring multiple figures and a plea for empathy. Alluding to the so-called “greatest artist of the Twentieth Century”, Pablo Picasso who utilized the Minotaur as an unconscionably permissive avatar, Fontenot imagines the mythical half-man half-beast as a more spiritually stunted and tragic character. The artist reveals America’s obsession with titillating material, both sexual and violent, as so pervasive that it acts as a decorative backdrop for ill-informed self-indulgences. These painted panels introduce such problematic obstructions as toxic masculinity, rape culture and misogyny, gay panic and homophobia, which imitate an archeologically significant codex that might give future generations some explanation of our contemporary dysfunction and lower impulses.
With a travel grant from the Dallas Museum of Art, Erin Stafford visited plantation homes in Louisiana to study Southern mystique. Confronting her own often-troubling “white, female” identity, the artist became increasingly unsettled by realizations around her cultural conditioning. The assumption that Caucasian women had a passive role in the enslavement of Black people resulted in a cognitive dissonance when Stafford’s research revealed that these women were often willing participants in human tracking. This newfound knowledge was the catalyst for new sculptural and two-dimensional artwork.
The intoxicating effect of these beautiful objects has masked the intention of actively reinforcing and promoting sexist and racist ideologies. Fontenot’s and Stafford’s recurrent investigations of the status-quo as a deadly oppressive force disguised as “tradition” and “nostalgia” is ever more poignant when scapegoating continues to be a most revered and enduring American “tradition”.
Reception: September 11, 2021 | 6–9 pm
1300 Gendy Street
Fort Worth, 76107 TX