Lola Flash Now: 40 years after MICA
Opening Reception January 25th, 2020 4pm-7pm
Closing Reception February 22nd, 2020 4pm-7pm
Show runs from -
January 25th, 2020 - February 22nd, 2020
Join Lola Flash and Dr. Leslie King Hammond
for a conversation at MICA
Location: Falvey Hall (1301 W Mt Royal Ave)
Artist - Lola Flash
My projects are an insiders' account of the many ways black and gay people are perceived and how selected images have affected our psyche. I am a photographer who identifies as black and gay. For 40 years I have been committed to deconstructing racism, sexism and homophobia through challenging photographic imagery. Conventional visual representation of both black and gay culture contributes to the construction of stereotypes. In the media, for example, many present illustrations of black "likeness" are still often non-existent when it comes to mainstream magazines and in newspapers, images that deem appropriation are predominately criminals, pop idols, or sports figures. When we look at gay imagery, visuals often inspire the sissy, bulldager or a downtrodden outcast. These messages propagate a falsehood where beauty rarely exists. Here there is no room for evolution or progression into a whole human being. Due to the shifting nature of the political climate and social "status quo", the connotations of this system are in constant transformation, but it is certain that these misrepresentations are often painful and soul destroying. bell hooks acknowledges, "Stereotypes, however inaccurate, are one form of representation…"*. So what is real? That is, have these communities been successful, in repositioning the understanding of identity and have we overcome what appears as an ever present colonial encoding? I mainly shoot with a 4x5 film camera, echoing the tradition of the earliest style of portrait photography. I am passionate about this format, it is a powerful and respectable method of exploring the ambiguity and blurred borders that create an individuality which elevates consciousness and advances a plethora of complex and positive imagery of people in the Diaspora and all over the world.
* hooks, bell, Black Looks: race and representation, South End Press, Boston, MA, 1992 p.17
Flash uses photography to challenge stereotypes and offer new ways of seeing that transcend and interrogate gender, sexual, and racial norms. She received her bachelor's degree from Maryland Institute and her Masters from London College of Printing, in the UK. Flash works primarily in portraiture with a 4x5 film camera, engaging those who are often deemed invisible. In 2008, she was a resident at Light Work and in 2015, she participated at Alice Yard, in Trinidad. Flash was awarded an Art Matters grant, which allowed her to further two projects, in Brazil and London. This summer, she was artist-in-residence at
Center for Photography at Woodstock. Flash has work included in important public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Brooklyn Museum. Her work is also featured in the publication Posing Beauty, edited by Deb Willis, currently on exhibit across the US. In 2016, she co-led a talk at the Bronx Museum with Sur Rodney Sur. They spoke to the glaring lack of women artists and POC, with respect to the Art AIDS America exhibition. Pen + Brush Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 2018, featured a 30 year retrospective of her significant photographs. Her most recent solo show took place, this year, in London, at Autograph Gallery.
Flash’s work welcomes audiences who are willing to not only look but see.