Kristin Powers Nowlin
Artist Statement: For many years, my work has explored how American culture defines and determines race. In the past, my artwork has represented the various ways that popular, scientific, or academic cultures have used to identify the race of a given individual. Skin color, hair type and color, facial features, and bloodline have all been explored and exploited as ways to include or exclude people from one category or another.
My current body of work, The Land of Romance Series, responds to images used in print advertisements of the 1930’s, including Norfolk and Western Railroad travel brochures promoting Virginia as “the land of romance, hospitality, and beauty”; other travel brochures carrying the slogan, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”; and Maxwell House Coffee ads. The original, idealized images that these advertisements featured are challenged and expanded in the black and white woodblock prints, perhaps showing a more accurate reality; research into many African American family trees can reveal multiple generations where children were born to slave women and fathered by slave owners. This history played a significant role in shaping America, both economically and socially, and has had a lasting impact on both individual families as well as America’s complex social fabric.
Speaker Bio: Kristin Powers Nowlin, a native of Ames, IA, received her BFA in fine art from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio in 1992 and her MFA in printmaking from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1995. She has taught printmaking at many colleges and universities across the country, including Southeast Missouri State University, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Adams State College, and Sweet Briar College. Currently, she lives and works full-time on her artwork in Manhattan, Kansas.
Sponsored by: The Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop, Fine Arts Colloquia, and the Art & Art History Department