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© Whitfield Lovell

Audio Guide - Adult

Psalm, 1999

Artist: Whitfield Lovell, American, b. 1959

Medium: Charcoal on wood, radio, audio cassette

Object: 40 x 22 x 9 in. (101.6 x 55.9 x 22.9 cm)

Credit Line: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase; funds provided by Mr. T. Hall Cannon, Elliot Perry, Marina Pacini and David McCarthy, Dr. James Patterson, Dr. Rushton Patterson, Karen Spacek and William Solmson, and Craig Michael Wiener

Object Number: 2005.12a-e

Copyright: © Whitfield Lovell

Not on view

DC Moore Gallery, New York, New York, 2005
Whitfield Lovell draws figures taken from anonymous photographs collected at flea markets and antique stores onto old wood. The portraits are combined with household artifacts such as plates, chairs, or, frying pans to produce deeply moving and dignified images of African Americans from the Jim Crow era. In Psalm, the lovely woman’s head, sketched in charcoal, is blurred and softened, appearing to emanate from the shadows of the wood. Below her, the radio plays a scratchy recording of a hymn. Both the wood panel and the radio are worn from use; they evoke nostalgia for the past as well as conveying a sense of history and the traces of the people who used them.