The Land of Romance Series
My current body of work responds to images used in print paraphernalia of the 1920’s-1950’s, including, among others, Norfolk and Western Railroad travel brochures promoting Virginia as “the land of romance, hospitality, and beauty”; other travel brochures carrying the slogan, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”; and Maxwell House Coffee ads. The original, idealized images that these advertisements featured are challenged and expanded in the black and white woodblock prints, perhaps showing a more accurate reality; research into many African American family trees can reveal multiple generations where children were born to slave women and fathered by slave owners. Additionally, the series includes collages which are a fusion of the original woodblock prints. New narrative possibilities are explored and questions raised, often with no clear answer or story. While these are open to interpretation, my underlying criticism of that era of our nation’s history comes across in subtle, yet derisive ways. This history played a significant role in shaping America, both economically and socially, and has had a lasting impact on both individual families as well as America’s complex social fabric.