Sketchbook | Shadow Maker
Artist Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR speaks to the Toni Morrison tribute she created for the cover of The New Yorker.
“I felt urged on by an absence—trying to fill a void,” says Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR in considering how she created the cover image of the late, great writer Toni Morrison for the August 19, 2019 issue of The New Yorker.
“I wasn’t sure what to do, really,” Walker explains in an interview with Françoise Mouly, the magazine’s longtime art editor.
“Like many artists, I looked up to Ms. Morrison for some kind of approval and validation that I usually didn’t seek in life,” the MacArthur Award-winner continues. “Through her work and words, she became something like a muse, teacher, mother, clairvoyant and judge—always a presence urging me on.”
After a number of “false starts” in creating the cover—working in clay and pastel, and even considering watercolor—Walker went with the medium for which she was first best known. And she titled her striking New Yorker image Quiet As It’s Kept.
“I decided to keep it familiar—to use the cutout,” Walker concludes. “It’s the work I do. I’m no portraitist, but I am a shadow maker.”
—Liisa Silander / sketch images from The New Yorker’s site
When Macarthur Award-winning artist Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR returned to RISD for an open conversation, students were hungry to hear her thoughts.
With the announcement of this year's MacArthur Award, painter and sculptor Nicole Eisenman 87 PT is the 10th amazing RISD alum to have won a coveted “genius grant” in the past 18 years.
Pulitzer-prize winning critic Hilton Als delivers the 2017 Gail Silver Memorial Lecture.