The quiet nuances on the surface of Renee
Stout's work are just the tip of the iceberg,
though the subterranean rumblings may
be hard to decipher without a fundamental
knowledge of Yoruba, Vodoun, and
Hoodoo culture. Stout's metaphors are
steeped in mysticism and the undercurrents
of a spiritual world made material.
Her sculptures, installations, and two-dimensional
works spanning three decades
reinterpret aspects of belief systems culled
from the Congo, West Africa, Haiti, and
New Orleans and reconfigure those ideas
through a personal iconography. Systems
of divination and conjuring, as well as her
personal deities and their related signs
and symbols, are subsumed into thoughtprovoking
works designed to conceal as
much as they reveal.
When I first I entered Stout's home studio
three years ago, the parlor was almost completely
white. My eyes gravitated to a huge
fireplace and a shelf laden with bottles of
perfume, some empty and others containing
remnants of scent. The attractiveness
of the vials might explain their presence in
such abundance, but I saw vestiges of
Oshun, Yemaja, and Oya.
...see the entire article in the print version of March's Sculpture magazine.