The works of regional self-taught artist Sarah Albritton will be on display at the Lincoln Parish Library Event Center. An opening reception to honor the artist will be on Sunday, March 20 from 3-5pm. The exhibit will be on display from 9-5pm M-F (and by special arrangement) until the end of April. The exhibition was curated by Susan Roach (Coordinator of Technical Writing & Professor of English at Louisiana Tech) & Peter Jones (Professor of Art at Louisiana Tech). To learn more about Sarah Albritton and her artwork read the in-depth section below. SARAH ALBRITTON
Albritton’s paintings dating from 1993 to the present represent important memories from her youth in the Ruston area and symbolic statements of her religious philosophy and spiritual vision. Albritton's work includes a rich variety of narrative paintings that depict her personal experiences of childhood and later adult life. Instead of idealizing the past in a nostalgic manner as many memory painters do, Albritton's paintings often depict painful personal memories or complex philosophical issues. Her memory paintings selected for this exhibit from the On My Way catalog will feature the underlying stories and commentary for the paintings in the artist's own words, as recorded by folklorist Susan Roach and edited by Roach and Albritton. Also showing will be newer works from 1999-2011, many of which are smaller but continue with Albritton’s life story. After major surgery in 1999, she began to paint in smaller formats.
Albritton’s work has also been shown at the Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, La., the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Baton Rouge, La., the Louisiana State Museum, Presbytere, New Orleans, and the African American Museum, Dallas, Texas, and at the Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans, and most recently, the Zigler Museum of Art in Jennings, just to name a few.
Her painting career began in 1993, when she was invited by NCLAC to participate in a fundraiser where celebrities painted and auctioned their paintings. After the event, she began painting stories from her life first written in her unpublished autobiography. This led to her first exhibition in Ruston at La. Tech 1996, and then a traveling exhibition and catalog, On My Way: the Arts of Sarah Albritton. Albritton's narratives in her memory paintings contribute to local history and present a view of the African-American experience and culture in the rural South, according to the curators. While she sometimes paints community events such as baptisms and church homecomings, Albritton's paintings also depict painful memories of hardships and abuse, racism, or visions of hell. Paintings such as Mama, Don't Send Me Away, Lonely Road, and Bridge over Troubled Water show the young girl in her blue skirt struggling to make her way through the poverty and precariousness of southern African American family life in post-Depression years. Albritton’s written or transcribed oral stories often accompany her paintings to reveal their complex narratives.