In Toni Morrison’s book, “Playing in the Dark”, she talks about how the foundation of American literature uses a coded language of “darkness” to invoke and imagine “the other.” I thought that it was an interesting counterpoint to gospel music which invokes darkness both literally and metaphorically as a safe place where secrets are disclosed and freedom is found. Thinking also of Aretha Franklin’s “Spirit in the Dark”, which can be read both as a spiritual and a secular song, I invest in an object/image-based practice that deals with the idea of “blackness” and the construction of culture. The juxtaposition of cultural products and black literary work provides me with a way to access some of the troublesome hiccups in our everyday encounters with signs and symbols that I could not put words to.
Tia-Simone Gardner grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she studied Art and Art History, earning her BA with a focus in painting. In 2009, she received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. A mixed-media artist working in methods of appropriation and installation, Gardner’s work focuses on psychological relationships to locations and spaces, as well as the idea of home and blackwomanhood. She has completed a residency in the Netherlands, and is currently participating in a Studio Fellowship with the Whitney Museum of American Art, which she will complete in June of 2011. Her work has been shown at the Art Folk Gallery (Birmingham, AL), Art in General and Michael Steinberg Fine Art (both in NYC). Gardner currently resides and teaches in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tia-Simone Gardner was an artist in residence at CPW in 2009.