Erin Washington

The Feeling of Management, 2019

Oil on MDF
4’ X 4’

The Feeling of Defiance, 2019

Oil On Canvas
2’ X 4’

The Feeling of Unrestrained Speculation, 2019

Oil on Canvas
14” X 14”

The Feeling of Being Gas Lit, 2019

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
2’ X 4”

The Feeling of Taking One Extra Step, 2019

Oil On Canvas
3’ X 5’

Artist Statement

As an act of resistance, empowerment, and I am exploring the role of spiritual sustainability. I look to the stories of my village (including my peers, family, and black artists who’ve come before me) to inspire and guide my journey toward understanding the significance of spiritual sustainability and the reasons why I aspire for it. It is crucial that the paintings provoke discussion.

Informed by my collective past and my obsession with cultivating and implying an Afrofuture. I create paintings whose temporal place is set in the present. They are urgent. I use color and vibrancy as visual commentary to address the diverse dynamism of what this urgency feels like.

Braids, twists, and natural hair are recurring imagery in my paintings, as well as women, bodies, and forms that are both referenced realistically, and from my imagination. By amalgamating these forms, and citing imagery and experiences that feel familiar, I create an opportunity for dialogue between viewers and myself to combat the passive violence of silencing that accompanies my institutional environment. The paintings are a vessel for healing by ”un-silencing”.

I use oil paint, color, scale, personal experience, and imagery of myself, and my family to explicitly confront the conflict that I feel for my institutional past/present directly with the peace and strength that I feel from my spiritual village in order to create a space of acceptance, visibility, assurance, and power in an environment of control, silence,
passive violence, exclusion, individualism, and isolation among my particular academic society. The paintings are a portal into my pursuit for spiritual freedom, creative liberty, and productive healing.