Carrie Mae Weems is asking probing questions about humanity, about representation, and about power with these photographic and video works.
In Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects, Weems focuses on the humanity denied in recent killings of black men, women, and children by police. She directs our attention to the constructed nature of racial identity—specifically, representations that associate black bodies with criminality. Our imaginings have real—often deadly—outcomes. Blocks of color obscure faces just as our assumptions around race obscure individual humanity. Through a formal language of blurred images, color blocks, stated facts, and meditative narration, Weems directs our attention toward the repeated pattern of judicial inaction—the repeated denials and the repeated lack of acknowledgement.
Much of this work grew out of an exploration of the idea of grace in response to our contemporary moment. Weems draws inspiration from the ancient Greek tragedy Antigone, in which a woman defies prevailing powers to bury her fallen brother. Weems’ work commemorates fallen brothers and asks us to probe and seek understanding along with her.
Entry on Carrie Mae Weems from the library database, Oxford Art Online: https://doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T2022226
Issued in conjunction with the exhibition Carrie Mae Weems: Strategies of Engagement, held at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, September 10 to December 13, 2018. Download on Internet Archive