Noel W. Anderson
I employ image-based mediums to explore relationships between race, class, gender, and sexuality. Primarily using Jacquard tapestries, printmaking, and film, my work mines archives particular to African American experiences (Ebony magazine, FBI files, etc.) as a means to think through representations of black masculinity. Technological modes of image reproduction provide me opportunities to engage polemics of black representation, while connecting historical dialogues of painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and weaving. The historical relationship between tapestry weaving and traditional and contemporary art provides space to address how historical materials affect representations of black maleness. The works are completely woven and not digitally printed on fabric.
Applying technological methods to appropriated images from black archives is central to my research. After manipulating pictures, weavers render my images into tapestries. The tapestry is reworked by hand: dyeing, distressing, and dissolving the image. The labored image literally blurs its edges. The object poses many questions: What possibilities are proffered blackness by democratizing contemporary modes of production? How can weaving conceptually, materially, and historically disrupt the archive? Aligned with material concerns, the ambitions of the work are to insert discourses of black materiality into traditional and contemporary conversations. What happens when a photograph of black detainment is woven into a luxury commodity such as a tapestry, and further re-labored through dyeing and distressing? The images included here demonstrate my use of Jacquard tapestries, and concepts found in print and film, to explore crossings of race, class, gender, and sexuality.