Robin Annette Jordan at the PCAF Gallery
Published in the Weekly Volcano, March 14, 2019
by Alec Clayton
|untitled acrylic painting by Robin Annette Jordan, courtesy PCAF.|
Pierce County AIDS Foundation has set aside a part of their offices as an art gallery, and for the month of March is showing a group of paintings by Robin Annette Jordan called She to bring attention to National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Every year throughout the month of March local, state, federal, and national organizations come together to shed light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls and show support for those at risk of and living with HIV.
This year marks the 14th annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Progress against HIV and AIDS has been made, but many are still vulnerable to infection, especially Black or African-American and Hispanic women.
A release from PCAF explains that the show “organically embodies identity, presence, and ownership of eloquence and strength” and further reminds us that HIV and AIDS “are still widespread public health issues, and women remain particularly impacted by the virus. Today, nearly one in four people who are diagnosed with HIV are women.”
Jordan’s work “challenges us to move towards improving the wellbeing of women through policy, education, and innovative programs.”
Jordan’s acrylic paintings picture faceless women of color in various situations or environments. They are all about the same size (approximately 16-by-12 inches) and each piece is displayed in a recycled frame.
The drawing of the figures is unpolished and more decorative than detailed, with mostly flat figures with no shading or modeling. Most of the paintings are of single women, though there is one of two women dancing in colorful costumes and two similar paintings with a group of nine or more dancing women in identical dresses with black bodies and black hair streaked with white. These figures look like dolls and are starkly dramatic. Most of the women depicted in the other paintings have brown skin — the same uniform dark brown in each painting. The dresses worn by the two dancing women mentioned above look like dresses seen on women at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro or at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
The backgrounds and clothing in Jordan’s pictures are painted in intense colors, and although the faces are featureless, they are of particular people. In a printed statement, the artist says she expresses her love of color “through my faceless artwork by telling stories about things I have done and seen, about family and friends, and watching National Geographic. Why faceless? It makes the artwork more interesting for an individual person to understand what the artwork is perhaps saying to him or her.”
What it says to me is that women of color have for too long been invisible — left out of history, left out of art, and relegated to minor roles in film and literature.
Since the women are faceless, the visual beauty resides in the vibrancy of the colors and shapes in the dresses and the background, which for a self-taught artist display an exciting sense of design and color usage.
She, Robin Annette Jordan, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, through March 31, PCAF Gallery, 3009 S 40th St., Tacoma, 253.383.2565 ext. 7201
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