“the patience is in the living,” works by Mara Duvra, opens at Schaefer Art Gallery Posted on November 11th, 2019 by

A new exhibit featuring the work of visual artist Mara Duvra, the patience is in the living, is now on display at the Schaefer Art Gallery on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College through December 11.

The exhibit features photographs and text from a body of work entitled Tending: meditations on interiority and blackness, in which she uses text, video, and imagery to create a deeper understanding of blackness beyond public identity. 

Duvra says she wants to highlight softer visual representations of women of color through her work. “The installations and corresponding texts introduce wonder and imagination into the handling of black identities,” she says in her artist statement. “In this project, I uncover poetic representations of tenderness, calm, and creativity, in order to create a rich anthology of representations of blackness.” 

Duvra hopes to create an atmosphere of stillness and calm for viewers as they walk through the exhibit. The photographs and text are placed strategically to allow room to breathe between each work. Duvra says she has received questions at past exhibits about the meaning of certain photographs. She turns the question back to the viewers, asking them to decide what it means to them and then ask themselves why they understood the work in that way. “Blackness does not always have to be a signifier of struggle,” she says. “Does it always have to stand for something else?”

A unique aspect of the exhibit is the juxtaposition of text and image. The text includes words from books she was reading during the creation of the work as well as some of her own writing. Her images are frameless and the paper curls naturally in different directions. Duvra says that this increases the vulnerability of the interaction between the viewer and the work by removing any barriers like glass that would stand between the two parties.

Duvra is currently a Jerome Emerging Artist Fellow and a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative recipient. Her work has been featured at the Soo Visual Arts Center, Public Functionary, and Yeah Maybe, and she has held artist residencies at The Soap Factory and The White Page. She is a curator at the Waiting Room at Gallery 71 and an instructor of painting and drawing at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School.

The Schaefer Art Gallery is located in the Schaefer Fine Arts Center- Art Wing on the Gustavus Adolphus College campus. The gallery is open 8 a.m.–10 p.m. every day of the week and the free exhibit runs through December 11.


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