Who’s Looking?

[Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, June, 2017]

Easily overwhelmed, I’ve learned the best way for me to experience an art exhibit is to slowly and reverently—yet randomly—stroll through a gallery and let everything on display silently surround my senses until That One Work hits me between the eyes. And on Sunday, at the Speed Art Museum’s “Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art,” that’s exactly what happened. When I saw this one. This Carrie Mae Weems photograph that so slyly references Wyeth’s “Christina’s World.” And yet, oh dear lord, declares so much more!

For here, literally in black and white, is witness! Showing up. Using one’s body to powerfully speak Truth. Here is a woman of color owning everything in that photograph. Everything. Those plantation columns; how those overhanging trees frame her body, every blade of grass, the soft, hot breeze, the curve made by her antebellum dress, how her hair is dressed, what aperture to use, the light; The Light. Hers. Carrie Mae Weems. All of it. Hers.




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  1. Dear Patricia,

    Well, hello, there, Patricia, and greetings and salutations to you and to you and for very especially you my absolutely precious, dearly special, and just so, so very AWESOME soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!!! Wow, I just so, so very much love, cherish, and appreciate YOU, and I just also so, so very much love, cherish, enjoy, like, and appreciate how you have in such a lovingly heartfelt and sensitively caring manner brilliantly composed this beautiful blog post article as you have very perceptively captured the agency and empowerment of the powerful woman visualized in the photograph by our great Carrie Mae Weems. WOW, sister, WOW, I thank-YOU so, so much for how you were able to intuit the greater depth of meaning in these very empowering and poignant photographs here. Sister, i thank-YOU so, so much as well for acquainting me and each of us with the remarkable Carrie Mae Weems-I’d not heard of her before and what a sheer joy and blessing to learn about her and her superb work here, sisterfriend!!!!!! She is just such a talented and stupendous genius at her work for certain, Patricia, and what a great joy and blessing it was for me to delight in viewing all of the links which you have as usual as always very graciously and generously featured and included with your engaging and endearing blog post article here. I just had such visual pleasure viewing all of her empowering photographs and, in fact, I so loved, liked, enjoyed, and appreciated reading through all of the marvelous links which you have very aptly featured and included here, sister! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!

    Sister, I learned long ago that your approach is the best way to experience an art exhibit to just gradually take it all in staying in the moment and waiting with such a sweet patience for a particular piece of artwork to enliven your attention and to just gradually absorb the moment and deliciously and with no rush to gradually partake in the beauty of each art piece that very gradually takes you in with all of your very heart and spirit. When I was still living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio where I’m originally from and where I grew up when I would visit the historic and prestigious Cleveland Museum Of Art I’d take notebook after notebook to the museum frantically taking copious notes and with being so busy with taking notes on very many of the beautiful art work I was so distracted by all of my arduous note-taking that I lost the whole experience of what you very wisely do in slowly and reverently-yet randomly-stroll through a gallery and let everything on display surround your senses until That One Work hits you between the eyes. Sister, in the nearly 27 years in which I have lived in my beloved, precious, and special Iowa City, Iowa when I go to the art museum here I have learned very gratefully to adopt the approach which you take when you go to art exhibits. WOW, sisterfriend, and how I do so, so very much enjoy the whole totality of the experience much better as well, Patricia!!!!!

    Sister, I just so, so very much love, enjoy, like, and appreciate the very agency and empowerment of the black woman in the photographs. WOW, it is just awesome here as she is leisurely sitting on the lawn with her superb black female gaze looking at the plantation mansion with the stately columns. I can just feel her power from the very picture because during the slavery era the black slaves would not have had the freedom of movement on the plantation grounds to freely move back and forth and definitely wouldn’t have been allowed to leisurely sit on the spacious lawn and to gaze at the plantation mansion. Sister, I just love how you have very astutely and acutely in such a sagacious manner with such beautifully sharp and descriptive clarity written about the very agency and empowerment of the black woman in the photographs with her powerfully refreshing black female gaze as she makes her claim in these emboldening photographs, my absolutely fantastic sisterfriend, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!! I just so love how the black woman in the photographs is free and unrestricted in looking at her surroundings which is something the slaves wouldn’t have been allowed to do back in the day, sister and friend of mine, Patricia. WOW. Patricia, I so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate how you have in such a brightly vivid fashion with your description of our brilliant Carrie Mae Weems’s photographs shared and declared on your experiences in processing all of the magnificent photographs here, sister. WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!! I can perceive the very same insights from these great photographs that you do as well, sisterfriend!!!!! Your blog post article here as such a so, so very dearest and darling, preciously dear and awesomely special soul sisterfriend as such a so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white woman, Patricia, with your very engaging and endearing writing here just speaks to my very heart and spirit, sister, just going straight to this black woman’s very, very heart, and very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit!!!!! Your keen insights were such a sheer and joyous delight and blessing to bear witness to and I felt your sisterhood with your very empowering blog post article about our emboldening Carrie Mae Weems and her very inspirational and encouraging photographs with the powerful black woman with your very enlightening connection to all of this, my so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful soul sisterfriend white woman, my dear, dearest Patricia!!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!! Sister, I googled, Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” and just delighted in these photographs as well seeing very quickly the very many points of similarities here between the work of these two outstanding photographers. WOW!!!! YAY!!!!! WOW, do I just so, so very much love, cherish, and appreciate YOU, Patricia, and how you have in such a lovingly caring and sensitively heartfelt way brilliantly composed your very empowering, engaging, and endearing blog post article here with your very finely attuned connection as your were able to intuit very sagaciously all of the great meanings from these very astounding photographs. WOW, do I so, so very much appreciate YOU for this and also for all else you do, my absolutely and wondrously wonderful soul sisterfriend white woman, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!! 🙂

    Sister, I feel even better and brighter with such sheer joyful blessing and pleasure after very joyfully reading this such very masterful composition in the written word blog post article here and very joyously responding with my very heartfelt, detailed, and thorough thoughts, ideas, and comments. Now I am even more renewed, re-energized, reinvigorated, and rejuvenated being even more emboldened and encouraged as I am inspired from YOU, sister, from this very fine and excellent writing, and by all you do in such a very diligently conscientious manner to carry on in keeping up the good fight, in continuing to resist, to suit up and show up, to interrupt, and to persist. I am very uplifted by YOU, sisterfriend, and this lovely blog post article to never ever give up, never ever lose heart, and to never ever lose spirit and to never ever lose Spirit, and in keeping my For Always positive optimism in keeping my very faith and hope alive, Patricia!!!! Sister, you are just so, so very good for me and for my very walk with our Spirit, Patricia!!!! I thank Spirit continually for YOU, Patricia, and for YOUR very presence in my life!!!!! YAY for YOU, Patricia!!!!! YAY for this awesome blog post article and for all of your other splendid blog post articles, writings, and books!!!!! YAY for all you do just trying so, so very hard in doing your absolutely very best, Patricia!!!!! YAY for our very sisterhood and friendship, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!! Sister, please have such a totally terrific and a very thrilling Thursday, such a wondrously wonderful weekend ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!! Patricia, Spirit so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU, and so do I so, so very much A WHOLE BUNCH, my so, so very dearest and darling friend and sister!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always awesomely precious and dearly special soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you’re For Always so, so very much, Patricia, with My and Spirit’s Peace and Love For You For Always, sister of mine, and with Such Blessings and Such Very Even More Blessings For You For Always, friend of mine,

    Yours For Always soul sisterfriend Christian black woman and For Always in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

  2. As always, really appreciate your kind words, Sherry.
    I especially enjoyed your vivid description of yourself at the Cleveland Art Museum!
    Thank you.

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