Sunday, June 14, 2015

More on the curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal

Yesterday I started looking at the curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal, and asked some sharp questions about her artwork, mostly fueled by her string of documented lies, not just about her race, but several other issues. You can see that post below or here.

Subsequently, more data on Dolezal as an artist while she was in the DMV following her graduation from Howard has emerged from the archives of the Washington Post, where in 2002 Moore participated in an exhibition at Harmony Hall Regional Center Gallery which was titled "Fast Forward: Visual Voices 2002," and curated by Takema M. Robinson, who curiously points out that "this group of emerging black artists is looking backward with equal speed."

I say curiously because at that time Dolezal/Moore (from what her brother says here and from what a couple of Howard University sources who knew her have told me) was still a few years away from her "switch" to black and was one of the small number of white students at Howard. So now I'm curious to know if the curator even knew Dolezal/Moore, or just selected her work based on... whatever, and never actually met Dolezal/Moore.
These nine artists, all recent or current students in the master of fine arts program at Howard University, eschew the debates currently raging over the "burden of identity," Robinson writes in the exhibition's catalogue.

"The artists amassed here have all created works that unabashedly and unapologetically explore issues of cultural identity," she wrote. "Deeply aware of their history, their work is as much about the present and future as it is about the past."

The exhibition is overwhelmingly dominated by themes relating to the life of black women. (All but one of the artists are female.) The statements can be adulatory, as in Mecca Shakoor's lovely silk screen and bead applique{acute} "Adorn Her," or rebellious, as in Rachel Moore's religion-poking installation "Hypocrisy: A Form of Godliness,"
Dolezal's brother Ezra Dolezal confirms that his sister's thoughts about transformation might have been seeded by the way that she was treated by fellow students and faculty at Howard:
Ezra believes the only reason his sister would change her identity was due to the racism she claimed to have encountered at Howard University, where she graduated with her master’s degree in fine art in 2002.
Rachel, he added, would often complain that she was treated poorly as one of only a few white students on a mostly black campus.
“She used to tell us that teachers treated her differently than other people and a lot of them acted like they didn’t want her there,” Ezra said. “Because of her work in African-American art, they thought she was a black student during her application, but they ended up with a white person.”
He said that the experience made her angry, and it was then that Rachel started being “hateful to white people.”
Of course, since this person has now a well-documented allegedly "false" string of victimism, it also sort of hard to believe her on this aspect as well, since apparently Dolezal/Moore taught classes at Howard while she was a graduate student, and perhaps even after graduation, and then she was included in this show discussed above... unless the curator didn't know that Rachel was white.

Curious uh? I am still also somewhat curious at to Dolezal's lack of a digital footprint as an artist while she was at the DMV. According to a source who is someone who knew her at Howard, she did "show in DC several times," and apparently also sold work directly, since this person also owns an original (and quite good) Dolezal charcoal done in 2005. That piece was done when Dolezal was still known as Rachel Moore and signing her work with giant "RDM" initials. My source bought it directly from Dolezal, and not from any gallery.

Other than the PG County exhibition space noted in the WaPo review, who else showed her around the DMV? Her website has no CV, although there are cryptic references to artwork "on tour in Maryland" and also notes that this installation below was "Last exhibited in Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Avenue."

"Hell" Mixed Media by Rachel Dolezal

Dolezal tells us that:
This 8'x4'x4' installation features a life-size plaster figure sculpture with 'implanted' human hair in pit, chest, & chin, an open-mouth rendering with full dental sculpting, & acrylic gloss finish. The vortex under the figure is made from recycled clear plastic plates & cups, tissue paper, concrete, wood, steel, styrofoam, & ink airbrush.
The installation was featured originally with black velvet curtains (white used here for purposes of photography), and the 6-lamp circuit was set on a motion detector, catching viewers by surprise when they walked into the curtained area. A written expose' of various ideas about hell hung outside the black velvet curtain door.

Last exhibited in Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Ave.

Vortex elements were later destroyed, and sculpture was maliciously damaged, so this photo is a memorial of the art.
Everything is a "hate" tragedy with this lady.

One comes across a lot of weird stuff when mining Google for data on any subject... so we know that Rachel Dolezal was Rachel Moore after she married and partially while she was in the DM.

Here is some weird alignment of the planets with that name and the story... there's a 2008 book by writer Brandon Massey titled "Don't Ever Tell" and that is described here as:
With a new identity, a new city to live in, and a wonderful new husband, Rachel Moore believes she's finally free of the demons in her past. But nothing could be farther from the truth. For the deadly secrets she thought were long buried are now on the brink of being exposed...

Someone has a vendetta against Rachel. Someone whom she betrayed a long time ago. Someone who is determined to make her pay--no matter what the cost...

Now Rachel knows it's just a matter of time before her dangerous past meets up with her present--and destroys everything she's worked so hard for. Because if there's one thing that can be counted on--her enemy never forgets or forgives and will do whatever it takes to see her suffer...
Weirder and weirder...


aoi said...

have you read this article about Dolezal's plagiarism?
and here is the comparison between her work and artist JMW Turner:

David E. Castillo said...

So happy to read that someone else went down the rabbit hole that is the story of her art "career". In that we know that she "invents" history it seems she invented her glorious art career too. She was in 20 exhibits in 13 states and yet there is not one solitary gallery name or reception photograph. Not one. You are the only person I can find (aside from myself) who so clearly sees the wild discrepancies in her work. I am convinced that her "brilliant" paintings are a form of collage (glue and photography and maybe a few touches of paint over that). I am a painter myself and I paint figures too. I know that it takes a very long time (really, about 10 years) of rigorous training and practice to get to be a great figure painter. One doesn't go from painting like they are in High School to someone who paints like Nelson Shanks back and forth. :)