Erin Kendrick is an international artist and arts educator from Jacksonville, Florida. Her color-rich, acrylic ink-stained works of art and transformative installations seek to inspire a dialogue about contemporary spectatorship and the power of language as it relates to perceptions of and about black women. She has exhibited work in museums, galleries and alternative spaces throughout the United States and abroad. After receiving her formal art training at Florida State University (BFA, Studio Art, 1999) and Georgia State University (MFA, Drawing & Painting, 2003), she worked for many years as a Studio Artist and Arts Educator in Atlanta, Georgia. Although, she stepped away from the arts for 8 years to run an event design business (E. Street Design Co.), she returned to exhibiting artwork in 2016 with a renewed drive for art making and a new body of work.
She is currently the Lead Visual Art Instructor at Jacksonville Arts & Music School and a Teacher Artist for Cathedral Arts Project. Having taught at every level including higher ed, she was recently named the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s 2019 Art Educator of the Year. In 2018, she was voted Best Visual Artist, Best Art Exhibition, and Best Arts Educator in Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax 2018 poll. She has won several grants including the Jackie Cornelius Art Residency Grant, the Lift Every Student Artist-In-Residence Grant, and the Community First Foundation Art Ventures Individual Artist Grant. Erin maintains a studio at CoRK Arts District. Her current initiative, “Artists Types”, helps practicing artists with career advancement by providing workshops, mini-courses, and templates for CV writing, artist statements, proposals, and more. As an educator she lives by Elbert Hubbard’s quote, "Art is not a thing. It is a way."
In my paintings and installations, I examine contemporary spectatorship and the power of language as it relates to perceptions of and about black women, through the lens of the oppositional gaze. The oppositional gaze, penned by author bell hooks, “is one which cultivates a power to look, enabling black female spectators to document what they see and construct their own dialogue with their own voice”. I believe that black women have historically been victims of language as our ascribed identities were largely derived from negative depictions that have been distributed historically via media, art, and contemporaneously, social media. In my work, the women are not just objects meant to be seen but serve as both spectator and witness. The subjects in the portraits stare back at the viewer and one another challenging inherited perceptions, historical prejudice, and contemporary assumptions. The subject becomes the spectator as opposed to the spectacle through the transformative power of looking/seeing…the oppositional gaze. The images and experiences honor black women’s humanness in an effort to encourage empathy through both connection and confrontation.