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Choked on Cotton
“Choked on Cotton,” a virtual exhibition by artist Nell Gottlieb, cmunstems from Gottlieb’s reflections on her Alabama family’s plantation past and her current work to turn their empty antebellum house into a community space for art and culture in service of social justice. Gottlieb’s psychological and sociological analysis of “that place” provides a glimpse of her struggle to understand and come to terms with this history. She considers the cotton economy that supported plantation life in the context of the deteriorated house and the efforts of the descendants of those enmeshed in cotton to create a new narrative together.
The multi-media artist uses family images to reference black and white narratives of the place to both document and transcend time. Large unstretched canvases provide a map to the circumscribed world of the artist’s childhood and glimpses as she reckons with her heritage. A series of small photographs with drawings are a time-space collapsed narrative of return, while a plate installation references two families honoring the past and creating a shared future.
Gottlieb completed the Block Program at the Glassell School of Art in Houston. and is professor emeritus of public health education at The University of Texas at Austin. A native of Alabama, she moved to Texas in 1980 and now lives in Houston.
She founded Klein Arts & Culture, the non-profit community organization that now owns the former plantation house and organizes cultural activities to promote the rectification of past injustices.
Gottlieb is donating all proceeds from sales to The Collective. Visit “Choked on Cotton” through June 19. Individual appointments can be made by calling 713-523-1616 or emailing email@example.com.