Erin Kendrick is a visual artist from Jacksonville, Florida who’s color rich, acrylic ink-stained works of art seek to inspire a dialogue about contemporary spectatorship and the power of language as it relates to perceptions of and about black women. She has exhibited work in museums, galleries and alternative spaces throughout the southeastern United States. After receiving her formal art training at Florida State University (BFA, Studio Art, 1999) and Georgia State University (MFA, Drawing & Painting, 2003), she worked for many years as a Studio Artist and Arts Educator in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2009, she stepped away from fine arts and relocated back to her hometown to build a career as an Event Designer and Graphic Designer (E. Street Design Co.). She currently works as a Program & Event Coordinator at the University of North Florida and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia College (Jacksonville & Jacksonville NAS). With a renewed drive for art making, and a new body of work, she returned to exhibiting artwork in 2016. Erin currently maintains a studio at Cork Art Studios in Jacksonville, FL.
In my artwork, I challenge the canons of iconic stereotypes by examining language and perceptions about black women, through the lens of the oppositional gaze. Author, bell hooks described the oppositional gaze as an “overwhelming longing to look, a rebellious desire”. It is an intentional act, meant to challenge perceptions, where in which the subject becomes the spectator as opposed to the spectacle. In my work, the women are not just objects meant to be seen but serve as active “seers”…they see one another. The images confront one another, and their inherited perceptions, through the power of looking/seeing, the oppositional gaze. They embody a lineage of black women and the things we have survived. Both revered and reviled, their duality is necessary for their survival, and survival, like the oppositional gaze, is a rebellious act.