Updated: Sep 6
Works by Deyjah Stewart
One view September 1-30, 2023
Marlene and Spencer Hays Gallery
Solitude: Harmonious Evolution is Deyjah Stewart's first solo show in a gallery, showcasing a survey of works from 2018 to 2023. Stewart creates mixed media compositions encompassing abstraction, figuration, fiber techniques, collage, installation, assemblage, and painting. Through lived experience, Stewart explores a redefined notion of solitude as a human condition, intersecting the theme with the concepts of time, home and family, memory, imagination, childhood, and the self. Deeply embedded in loss and a sense of place, Stewart probes the subtle traits we express, objects we carry, everyday actions, and conversations in our lives–how the little things associate us with our departed loved ones as another form of their presence and link to our deepest selves.
Highlighting personal histories and self-exploration, the exhibition displays the depth and versatility of the artist’s approach to utilizing her upbringing as a frequent reference, ranging from painting to installation. An early work that draws upon experiences with solitude in a familial space, Where I've Always Been, 2021, is a painting that illustrates her affection for the home and its material comforts. The exhibition features recurring domestic objects and subjects as the main characters for family harmony and self-harmony; Close to Home, 2021, a knitted hammock containing sewn depictions of the artist’s previous homes and hibiscus flowers woven into the hammock captures the spiritual presence of a loved one, while one of Stewart's recent works, Under a New Moon, 2023, a painting reflecting the parallel between the artist’s childhood experiences watching over her younger siblings and her present self, nurturing her animals. Together, these works represent the importance of creating space for self-awareness which the artist feels is vital to becoming grounded and compassionate.
Inspired by her familial and inner relationships, Deyjah Stewart's autobiographical works elevate chapters of her life such as death, grief, belonging, family, self-doubt, and solitude, into whimsical productions of way-finding, self-celebration, reassurance, appreciation, and beauty. This exhibition invites the viewer to reflect on their own perceptions of life and consider their capacity to understand the complexities of ourselves and each other.