I use smoke, paint, clay, and collage to explore the qualities that exist in the nature of change and impermanence.
Trails of incandescent candles, slithering drips of colors, clusters of glitter and found materials blur the line between ephemera and permanence. Beauty and decay. Intuition and cognition. Illusion and reality.
A serendipitous encounter, a walk along the shore, or a cut out from a magazine generate paintings and drawings that explore human relations, the physical realities and conspicuous nature of ephemera and memory, by framing the illusive obviousness of these realities in time and space through objectively depicted materials.
“Daphne Arthur’s smoke on paper, employ an interesting technique. Her drawings remind one of tableaux vivants, or stage-like pieces that convey the unmistakable feeling of entering a room. Arthur has made her work teem with narrative and life. She is telling a complex story, yet shrouding the narrative in a complicated set of visual techniques. With the drawing Marks of Dust That Wander, specks of gold leaf nearly float off the paper and rest on the eye, making the work both precious and ominous, like a too fattening piece of cake asking to be eaten. Even without knowing the medium, one still senses the smoky and cloudy atmosphere these works possess. Shadows, the faint hint of plants, foliage and architecture all set the scene. A figure, round breast, flowing gossamer gown, the trunk of a tree, a smoky, secret garden emerge captivating and catapulting us to another culture (perhaps the Pacific Rim). Her work is a travelogue of her imagination and precise story telling. In viewing Arthur’s work, we are not here, we are there.”
by Louis Zoellar Bickett, Lexington, KY
About Daphne Arthur
Daphne Arthur received an MFA from Yale in 2009 and BFA from the SAIC in 2007. She’s had Solo exhibitions at RARE gallery, UMass Boston and Aalto University in Finland. Arthur has participated in national and international group exhibitions at the Honfleur Gallery, City College of NY, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Laviolabank Gallery, Marvelli Gallery, Arena 1, California African American Museum, Land of Tomorrow, Mexic-Arte Museum, 59 Rivoli gallery in Paris and Florence Biennale VIII in Italy. Recipient of the Anne Critz fellowship, The Ald Held Fellowship at the American Academy of Rome and completed an Artist residency at MassMoca. Artist Statement_ Daphne Arthur I am a contemporary Afro-Venezuelan artist, whose work explores the politics of daily life and transnational imaginaries from the diaspora. These perspectives emerge with agency from marginalized histories of individuals, whose stories and contributions, have evaded recognition through generational disenfranchisement and systemic omissions. Exploring nuance politics embedded within the quotidian exchanges in our lives, the work ruminates and emerges from past and present mythologies ranging from personal histories and collective experiences, as anthropological excavations of alternative narratives to consider human conditions beyond the paradox of culture, language, imagery, and memory. Enmeshed in entropic dynamism, systolic and diastolic rhythms of translucent smoke, colorful glissades, and patinas of oil paints produce moments of invention and reflection, where amorphous unpredictability explore liminal spaces within figuration and abstraction. Illustrating the beach, ocean, and horizon as opportunities to escape from external pressures through highlighting the natural purity of landscapes and encouraging a heightened awareness of the ethereal, the living, and organic. Capturing eroding beach debris, whether strewn in Far Rockaway, Trinidad, or Venezuela, my work reflects on deterioration, transformation, and the stakes of historical change. Echoing recent and contemporary patterns of gentrification, refocusing on the corrosion of black and brown communities and their local histories.