What makes a person royalty? Perhaps it is when they are seen in a regal aspect. Angela Hollingsworth would likely reject such a lofty position, yet Sandra Charles’ portrait of her for the Imagined Monuments exhibit places her in the same attitude that the artist has previously assigned to her series of African Queens. Hollingsworth’s humility is not absent, but it is clothed in rich fabrics and colors that connote a woman in a position of power and respect honestly earned achieved through accomplishment. Imagined Monuments, a Louisville Visual Art exhibit for Louisville’s Metro Hall, runs through July 12, 2019
“My work celebrates the self-esteem of African American women through interpretative portraiture,” Charles explains in her artist’s statement. “Each painting focuses on the expressions that represent our history and the expectations of the future. I look behind the facade of social perceptions that weighs down each of us. My work attempts to capture the removal of this hegemonic veil that covers the struggle between self and the perceived social order. It acknowledges this internal struggle as it fades away from the stereotypical norm towards a truer self. Moving away from traditional portraits, my body of work mixes this history and self together with color and stances that project an attitude of defiance. The facial expression of each woman contains the history of her progress and is a personal statement that captures the confidence of self.”
Charles will be featured with two other notable African American women artists in The Art of Elmer Lucille Allen, Sandra Charles and Barbara Tyson Mosley, which will be on display at The Carnegie Art Center For Art and History in New Albany Indiana February 22 through April 20, 2019. It will showcase Charles’ vision of contemporary women who are African Queens walking amongst us, women changing the world through the hard work of social activism and public service. Their leadership is built brick-by-brick, step-by-step, against the fusillade of slings and arrows that are the daily experience in a country divided against itself.
Charles came to her painting career later in life, but since earning her BFA in 2015, she has rapidly gained a high profile in the Louisville art community, selected to be a member of the first cohort of Hadley Creatives (Community Foundation of Louisville) in 2017, granted a solo exhibit at Wayside Expressions Gallery n 2017, at Art Sanctuary for the Kentucky Foundation Of Women’s Summer Residency Exhibit in 2018, and having two paintings chosen for permanent installation in the newly renovated Kentucky International Convention Center.
2017 Mellon-Oberst Family Award, 23rd Annual African American Exhibition, Louisville, KY
2016 Kentucky Foundation of Women Summer Residency Grant, Louisville, KY
Hometown: Hazard, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Painting, University of Louisville
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.