A 30-12 months-outdated African American artist from Memphis, Tennessee, is residing and doing the job in the tiny East Columbus dwelling in which another artist established thousands of works of artwork.
The smooth-spoken Johnathan Payne is the initial Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Artist-in-Home, expending 3 months this summer season in the renovated Sunbury Street house of the late Columbus artist. He makes his meals and from time to time bakes a pound cake in the kitchen area whose cabinets are adorned with daring black-and-white portraits painted by Robinson. He’s positioned his houseplants in the window of the sunroom. And every single day, he is effective on his art in the studio that was added to the house when Robinson received a MacArthur “genius” grant.
When Payne goes to work in that room, he walks underneath a indicator more than the doorway painted by Robinson that reads “Aminah’s Sanctuary.”
Payne’s residency, originally established for the summer months of 2020, was delayed a 12 months since of the COVID-19 pandemic. When he utilized for the residency, he was unfamiliar with Robinson’s get the job done — multimedia items that celebrate her African American heritage and integrate uncovered resources, buttons, audio packing containers and much more. Payne immediately set about finding out about Robinson’s operate.
“I was struck by the materiality of her items and the vary of her follow — drawing, paintings, and the RagGonGons,” the blended-media items Robinson was frequently adding on to, he said. “I was blown absent by her operate and surprised that I hadn’t listened to of her just before, primarily at this instant when there’s a ton of attention becoming compensated to up to date Black artists.”
Payne, who describes himself as a Southern, African American queer artist, was picked for the residency by a team of eight national art specialists, including artist Faith Ringgold and Carole Genshaft, curator-at-significant at the Columbus Museum of Art and an qualified on Robinson’s do the job.
Payne’s application stood out, Genshaft claimed.
“He felt this partnership with Aminah and her spirit and his perform seemed seriously fascinating,” she mentioned.
Payne was born in Houston and with his family lived in a variety of other spots like New Orleans, Colorado Springs, Scottsdale, Arizona, Memphis and briefly, Westerville, where he attended kindergarten at McVay Elementary School. Currently his mother and father and most of his siblings dwell in Montgomery, Alabama, while Payne considers home to be Memphis exactly where he graduated from Rhodes College. His grasp of good arts degree in portray and printmaking is from the Yale Faculty of Art in Connecticut.
He has labored as a facilitator and youth applications leader for the BRIDGES plan in Memphis and gained an artist residency from Crosstown Arts, also in Memphis. He came to Columbus from Iowa City exactly where he was at do the job in a different artist residency.
In Columbus, he is continuing his work with geometric abstraction and fiber sculpture. He generates lattices of shredded paper and gesso that are assembled in quilt-like constructions. A New York Instances evaluate of his perform described his pieces “crisscrossing like girders on a bridge … suggesting a variety of architectural lace. They lavishly complicate the grid that is the foundation both of those of classical modernism and weaving.”
“The grid is so integral to African style and design,” Payne mentioned. He included that his performs are big but created of sensitive materials.
The fragility of his get the job done, he claimed, “reflects the fragility of marginalized persons.”
Payne explained that in some approaches, his art is not dissimilar to Robinson’s and “is referential to the quilt-earning, buttoning and embroidery work she did.”
“I want to handle this residency as a woodshedding moment, examine new supplies and teach myself tools with which I can execute new functions.”
Though in Columbus, Payne will participate in at minimum 3 group outreach programs, one particular that may perhaps entail a flowerbed painting action with small children in the Sunbury spot neighborhood. He also will have an exhibit of his operates, maybe in Beeler Gallery at the Columbus Higher education of Art & Structure.
The residency, to be filled each year, features a stipend of $15,000. Prerequisites are that the artist be professional, concur to take part in public applications and be African American.
“As far as we know, it is the only residency for African American artists in the property of an African American artist,” Genshaft stated.
The Columbus Museum of Art, which owns the Robinson residence, plans a residency there for a writer-researcher for the spring/summer of 2022, a further visual artist residency for the fall of 2022, and, in conjunction with the Bigger Columbus Arts Council, fellowships for regional artists to perform in but not dwell in the home in the two 2021 and 2022.
“Our purpose is to continue to keep the dwelling occupied with these residencies and fellowships,” Genshaft reported.
Robinson died at age 75 in 2015, leaving her household and her artwork to the museum. She did not know about the residency program.
“But we have all her archives and letters and not long ago I came across a notice that explained she hoped that sometime the property could be utilized as an artist’s home,” Genshaft claimed. “Wow! I was so delighted. We feel that Aminah would be extremely pleased the property is currently being made use of by artists mainly because she usually mentored artists.”
Payne explained he has been considering about “what it ought to have felt like for Aminah to work right here. She experienced all the equipment she essential — books, languages she was mastering, elders and pals in the community. She hardly ever seemed to operate out of suggestions.
“The spirit of Aminah is a little something I have felt here.”
At a glance
Johnathan Payne will give an artist converse at 7 p.m. July 29 both of those on the net and at the Columbus Museum of Artwork, 480 E. Wide St. Admission is no cost. Call 614-221-6801 or visit www.columbusmuseum.org.