February 4, 2023 @ 11:00 am - April 2, 2023 @ 4:00 pm
Art & History Museums – Maitland
20The concept for (Un)Common Form began as an experiment, a question that we posed to ourselves. Could we craft an exhibition that would reveal the unspoken conversations between a sculptor and their chosen material choices, revealing the how and why, along with the history and the relevance of their physical palette? Our answer came in the form of this solo exhibition of work by Bahamian sculptor Kendra Frorup. Her work speaks of the influence of the culture of the Bahamas on her identity, of her travels, of her deep understanding of material processes and of how common everyday objects can be liberated from their original constraints to speak of higher things. (Un)common Form is the first in a series of five exhibitions in 2023: a diverse season of artists, mediums, conversations, and voices, all revolving around the theme of (Un)common Conversations.
The show is an exploration of artist Kendra Frorup’s Bahamian roots as well as a conversation about her travels throughout the African diaspora. Gallery guests will encounter everything from discarded wood and broken lamps to the hands of a Haitian Voodou Priest, cast from the wax of his own prayer candles.
Frorup’s work pulls guests into conversation with her art through augmented reality and physical interaction with her sculptures. “Pecking Order” invites visitors to gently rock a kettle to set a sea of chickens pecking below a towering wave of text that speaks to the sculptures’ origins. “If I Fall Asleep” invites viewers to bend low and put themselves as off-balance as the artwork itself appears to be. “Collecting Plates” is an installation of more than 50 dishes. It uses augmented reality to bring members of The Links Inc., whose membership numbers thousands of women of African descent, face-to-face with gallery visitors to share stories of their successes.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Artist Kendra Frorup was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, and embodies her memories of this time in her work. She earned her BFA in Sculpture at the University of Tampa and her MFA at Syracuse University. She is currently an assistant professor of sculpture at the University of Tampa. Gil DeMeza, one of her former professors at the University of Tampa, describes Frorup as “the collector,” stating that her “unique ability to take the old, used, and discarded and turn them into other-worldly, exquisite moments in time is like a magical talent.” Frorup states that her work “delves into a personal history formed by different cultural motivations and through the investigation of the evocative qualities of a variety of materials.”
In 1989, she embraced an opportunity to study art and live in the United States. “In an atmosphere of possibility and experimentation—combined with traditional methods of casting, carving, and construction—I began to create representational images or the essence of forms that are considered a commonality within my culture. The progressive concept of repetition in my work implies that repeated effort may be necessary to accomplish things but that the accomplishment is worth the struggle. The mindset of a collector and an affection for disdained items, urban refuse, and industrial materials is central to the process of art-making to me as an artist. The objects used within the artwork maintain their integrity to reflect where they have been, and the artwork I create is reflective of who I am.”
Frorup has also traveled extensively throughout Ghana, South Africa, and Tanzania. I gained familiarity with issues—with terms and concepts involved in discussing African art—and I analyzed selected African art forms, artists, and regions.” Elements of all these experiences—the memories and the history, as well as all the learned processes—are reflected in Frorup’s work. Her work can be found in major international collections.