AUSTIN, Texas — Metaphor looms large in the art and craft of textiles and has for millennia.
In darling divined, artist Diedrick Brackens’s evocative tapestries rely on the symbolism, allegory, and parable long associated with global cosmologies of weaving. The exhibition’s nine pieces all explore the intricacies and complexities of identity, woven along the warps and wefts of Black and queer histories.
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Brackens is pointed in his decision to work with cotton, as “it is tied up in the history of this country, Texas, and my family.” He offers his art as “something beautiful,” a small tribute to his enslaved ancestors. “I choose to sit at my loom and weave my stories,” he explains in the exhibition’s introductory text.
At the Blanton, “break and tremble” (2019), hangs so that audiences can see its intricate double weave — where one side is the inverse of the other — but the black figure under the horse’s hooves only appears only on one side. The selective presence of the figure, reminds viewers that which stories are told and why depends on the larger context that they’re woven into.
Drawing inspiration from poet Essex Hemphill’s work, darling divined offers a richly dimensioned exploration of history and identity.
Diedrick Brackens: darling divined continues through May 16, 2021 at the Blanton Museum of Art (200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Austin, TX). Organized by the New Museum, New York, the exhibition is curated by Margot Norton and Francesca Altamura. The Blanton’s presentation is organized by Veronica Roberts.