BY HUNTER SALMON | MARCH 7, 2016
Edgewood College is showcasing the work of African American artist Tyanna Buie in The Stream art gallery until April 3rd. Buie is the first black woman to win the Mary Nohl Fellowship in 2012 and received the Joan Mitchell Fellowship to continue her work this year.
From growing up in the intercity of Chicago and Milwaukee to becoming an artist and the Assistant Professor and Section Chair of Printmaking at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Buie has seen and achieved much.
Buie was in the foster care system growing up, and she says that her experience in foster care shaped the way she viewed the world and impacted her art in that her prints incorporate pictures of herself and her family while in foster care.
One unique and immediately noticeable aspect of her prints are that all human faces are blankly devoid of character. Buie says that she “likes to focus on the posture and body language of her subjects to portray emotions and thoughts.” The faces are also blank to extend the protection of anonymity to her subjects within the foster care system.
However, Edgewood’s exhibit of Buie’s pieces are different then her normal work. She explains that “the faces have more detail, but are still distorted and somewhat hidden.” This change has come through the distance of years from her experiences as she has grown more comfortable with her work.
“My art doesn’t necessarily tell a story. It’s more like a memoir,” Buie said. She says that her works portray certain areas of her history, but does not paint the whole picture of her childhood. This vagueness was intentional and allows viewers to interpret the work themselves.
Buie’s style of art is a mixed media of printmaking and silk screening. She uses Photoshop to see what pictures work together in collages, and then prints them onto paper. Unlike many printmakers, she makes only one print. Each work of art is unique and the only one in the world.
Buie will return to Edgewood sometime early April for a final showing of her work.