Curator’s Statement

Lorraine behind-the-scenes at the Library.

AS THE ART DIRECTOR & CURATOR OF phatLiterature, it was my job to find artists and select works that represent a variety of interests and activities within the visual arts community. Like the writers of phatLiterature, the artists had to represent a diverse range of media and styles as well as culturally diverse backgrounds. What made the job more compelling is that I had to select works that embodied the essence of phatLiterature’s programming, without sacrificing the artists’ works. My ultimate goal was to create a union of words and images (which was a challenge in itself), since most people have a limited way of thinking about art and its role in our lives today.

Lorraine with director, Felix Leo Campos

Embarking upon this selection process, I found myself learning histories that were hidden from my view, and an arts community I was totally unaware of. I found myself deeply struck by the emergence of a social and cultural sensibility that pervaded much of the works, which prompted me to get close and personal with the artists themselves. I made it my job to get inside the artists’ heads and study their works thoroughly, in order to enrich not only myself, but also the viewers. And as an artist-participant in this program, this experience connected me back to art that felt positive and oriented me towards a new vision of art making, which I believe will have a lasting impact in my own work.

Where there are humans, there is a desire to share unique compelling stories, and this is not limited to writers. The artists in this program have dared to fashion artistic tales from visions, divine inspiration, and the people and events that have surrounded them. They are visual storytellers whose individual styles and techniques serve to expand the definition of contemporary American culture that demonstrates the richness and diversity of a true American aesthetic. Images have the inherent ability to tell many narratives simultaneously, and are in large part defined by the context of shared cultural experiences. This desire has remained constant throughout history, and it is this need that is the foundational motivation for visual artistry.

This is the reason VISUAL SIGNATURES has become much more than any of us anticipated, and I believe is self-evident in the interviews you are about to watch. So listen to their stories. Listen to their paintings and sculptures. While their works tell us about their lives and their passions, they really provide a familiar backdrop to our own life stories as well.

— LORRAINE MILLER NUZZO

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