Featured Artist: Carrie Mae Weems

Image: Carrie Mae Weems in her Self Portrait "I looked and looked to see what so terrified you." From her installation "Louisiana Project."

Carrie Mae Weems is an African American woman photographer whose work is challenging, compelling, and sometimes disturbing. I became aware of her work via Google Alerts. Do you know about Google Alerts? It's a handy way to keep up with what's current about any subject you choose. On the site, you type in your search terms, how often you want to have updates sent to your email inbox, and what kind of content you prefer: comprehensive, blog, news, video, etc. Once you click submit, your alert is done, and you can make as many as you can think of. My current alerts are for Afrocentric Art, Polymer Clay, and Black Artists. To keep up with the happenings around the Gee's Bend quilts last spring, I had an Alert about that, too. You can easily manage your alerts, including adjusting the frequency and content. It's a great tool for keeping up to date on subjects you're interested in, but beware; it gives you even more email to read (though you can easily scan for your search terms within each email, and quickly delete those you don't want).

Now, back to Carrie Mae Weems. In her own words:
"My responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the rooftops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specificity of our historical moment."

Carrie Mae Weems is a folklorist who uses images to tell the stories of her subjects. She expertly incorporates conceptual photography, sculpture, sound, and video, and integrates text with the visual image to document and challenge perceptions of race, class, and gender.
Images: "You Became Mammie, Mama, Mother & Then, Yes. Confidant--HA" part of From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried 1995
"Untitled, From the Kitchen Table Series" 1995
"While sitting upon the ruins of your remains, I pondered the course of history" 2003

You can see more of Carrie Mae Weems's work here.