Nashville, TN | Painting
Nashville based artist Donna Woodley is a painter whose works discuss the examination of black culture in conjunction with American culture. She is an educator of art and her work has allowed her to emerge within the art community participating in exhibitions and other happenings across the USA.
Thoughts, discussions, and many healthy debates about black culture over the years are seeds that I’ve subconsciously sewn, rediscovering them as an artist years later. At my core, I am a portrait painter and love making work that speaks to notions of the Black Experience. The figure in my paintings is usually confrontational towards the visibility and value of black people within American society, both historically and in a contemporary context.
Enlisting men and women that I know, including myself, is a significant part of my process. It allows me to explore the idea of emotion, connection, and relationship, and also challenges me to render the figure accordingly. I discuss current themes and ideas that exist by combining the figure with absurd metaphors such as granny panties or toilets. Informed by stereotypes, cultural similarities and differences, perception of beauty, mental health, and esteem, my work often uses subtle humor to create an environment conducive to healthy dialogue.
I’m happy when a viewer feels compelled and comfortable to approach my work. The icing on the cake is if they dwell there, laugh, think, hate it, love it ultimately walking away having felt something.