New Orleans Artist Andry Engages Vol Community
New Orleans printmaker Katrina Andry will visit campus and the city this week for activities inspired by her current exhibit, on display through February 17 at the UT Downtown Gallery, 106 S. Gay St.
Andry’s visit will open with a printmaking workshop in the UT Printmaking Shop on Wednesday, January 31, in collaboration with the UT printmaking program and The Bottom, a Knoxville nonprofit community center and bookshop, 2340 East Magnolia Avenue.
Althea Murphy-Price, professor of art, will lead a conversation with Andry 5:30–7;30 p.m. Thursday, February 1, in the McCarty Auditorium of the UT Art and Architecture Building.
Andry will wrap up her visit with a public reception 5–7 p.m. Friday, February 2, during First Friday at the UT Downtown Gallery.
The exhibit covers two series of Andry’s work that examine connections between historical and contemporary experiences and race relations.
In her mixed-media installation “The Promise of the Rainbow Never Came,” the artist considers the dehumanization that African people endured during the Middle Passage, the forced voyage of people brought in bondage to the Americas between the late 1400–1800s.
The other part of the exhibit is a selection of prints from Andry’s “Colonial Colorism Influences in the Black Community—Past and Present.” These large format and boldly colored woodblock prints explore narratives of ethnicity, social hierarchy, Black experiences, quality of life, and the collective perception of society as a whole toward race relations and social standards.
Her work was chosen for exhibition both for the power of its message and the high quality of its visual impact.
“Andry’s work is powerful, extremely well crafted, and explores the Black experience and race relations through contemporary and historical events,” said Julie Lohnes, director and curator for UT galleries and collections. “Also from a purely formal standpoint, her work is rich, layered, and jewel-like, thus very engaging to simply look at.”
Andry is a teaching fellow in the MFA graduate seminar at Tulane University in New Orleans, where she lives, works, and maintains a studio. She has exhibited across the country and was named one of the top 50 printmakers by Art in Print magazine in 2012.
Lohnes had been familiar with Andry’s work for several years, and was glad for the opportunity to feature her in a solo exhibition that would engage UT students and the Knoxville community.
“When selecting professional artists to present at the School of Art galleries, we consider a number of criteria and goals specific to the UT Downtown Gallery, as it is embedded in the community,” said Lohnes.
Art works are sought for exhibit that will have multiple connections to both historical and contemporary topics that can be integrated into established curricula, providing students and faculty opportunities to expand their knowledge through transdisciplinary connections.
“We aim to intentionally involve and serve all our constituent groups: East Tennessee, campus beyond the Art and Architecture building, and the School of Art, with a focus on underserved communities,” said Lohnes.
With the exhibit already serendipitously scheduled to continue into mid-February, it organically became part of UT Black History Month events through conversations with Shayla Nunnally, head of Africana Studies and Anthony Prewitt, Director of Multicultural Student Life and the Frieson Black Cultural Center.
Activities for Andry’s UT Knoxville visit were scheduled to take place primarily during the February portion of the show, bringing her the opportunity to engage with Vols in-person in ways that enhance her already powerful exhibit.