Cleansing the Ills of the Past

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Whitfield Lovell, Restoreth, 2001. Charcoal on wood and found objects. Courtesy DC Moore Gallery © Whitfield Lovell and DC Moore Gallery, New York

This tableaux was originally created as part ofWhitfield Lovell’s installation Visitation, which explored the history of the Jackson Ward historic district in Richmond, Virginia, the first black entrepreneurial community in the United States, commonly described as the Harlem of the South.

Restoreth, as the artist once explained, “evolved . . . out of a need for reconciliation. For me, it bridges the abyss between slavery and the height of Jackson Ward’s heyday. The image is from a tintype of an older black woman. The work includes 33 medicine bottles—pills, powders, ointments, and tonics—that represent the elements of healing and fortification. The juxtaposition of these objects with the image of this powerful woman suggests a kind of protection from, and cleansing of, the ills of the past, while also alluding to Hoodoo practices that came from African customs.”

Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works is on view through Jan. 8, 2017.

Video Tour of Whitfield Lovell

“Immersing oneself in the soulful reveries of Lovell’s art opens a window onto our shared past, and it’s ongoing reverberations in our contemporary world.” More from Exhibition Curator Elsa Smithgall on Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works in this video.

Celebrate Sketching on National Notebook Day

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A page from Rebecca Kingery’s notebook (left) next to Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas’s “Melancholy” (right)

It’s National Notebook Day! For some that means writing, for some that means drawing. In response to a former Phillips employee’s drawing that we shared last week, several of you sent in pages from your own sketchpads. Celebrate notebooks today and share more of your creations!

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Bud Wilkinson’s rendition of Pierre Bonnard’s “The Palm” at left; the painting in The Phillips Collection at right

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Installation view of Ellsworth Kelly’s “Untitled (EK 927)” at left; Rebecca Kingery’s sketch at right