Talley Dunn Gallery is immensely honored to announce a solo exhibition of renowned and nationally recognized artist Vicki Meek. The artist’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery, At What Point Do We Disappear? Black Women’s Obsession with White Femininity, will be on view April 23 – July 2, 2022.
This exhibition stems from an idea I’ve been mulling around in my head for decades. I think it started in the late 1980s when I was asked by a Black woman, upon noticing that I wore my hair natural, “Are you still wearing an Afro? Didn’t that go out with the 70s?” I explained to her that my natural hair wasn’t a fad statement but a full embracing of my natural self. It was at that point that I realized the whole concept of Black beauty that had seen a momentary shift to an African aesthetic, was more a fad for so many Black women, a style to be switched up when Black is Beautiful ran its course, and we shifted back to an aesthetic rooted in Eurocentricity.
I am exploring in At What Point Do We Disappear: Black Women’s Obsession with White Femininity how deeply ingrained this self-hate is, not only here in America, but also in Africa where women sport long, straight haired wigs and bleach their skin in attempts to “lighten up” their complexion so that they can be more appealing to African men. This fascination with whiteness extends beyond simply skin color and hair texture. It manifests in obsessions with light colored eyes, thin bodies, as well as altered noses and lips.
I liken the inculcation of white femininity in the Black female psyche to the diminution of our souls. We erase aspects of ourselves in the process of creating a beauty aesthetic that has so many roots in white femininity. At what point do we simply disappear?
About the Artist:
Vicki Meek, born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized artist who has exhibited widely. Meek is in the permanent collections of the African American Museum in Dallas, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana, Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Serie Art Project in Austin and Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was awarded three public arts commissions with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Art Program and was co-artist on the largest public art project in Dallas, the Dallas Convention Center Public Art Project. Vicki Meek has lived and worked in Dallas, Texas since 1980.
Meek was selected as one of ten national artists to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center with the commissioning of a site-specific installation. Meek’s retrospective Vicki Meek: 3 Decades of Social Commentary opened in November 2019 at Houston Museum of African American Culture and marked the end of her concentrating solely on her installation practice as she moves into creating work using video as the primary medium. She dubs these new works video comments since they are no more than 8 minutes in length and are done in a series format.
Vicki Meek has been awarded a number of grants and honors including National Endowment for the Arts NFRIG Grant, Dallas Observer MasterMind Award, Dallas Museum of Art Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant, Texas Black Filmmakers Mission Award, Women of Visionary Influence Mentor Award, Dallas Women’s Foundation Maura Award, nominated for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, the African American Museum at Dallas A. Maceo Smith Award for Cultural Achievement and was selected as the 2021 Texas Artist of the Year by Art League of Houston.
In addition to having a studio practice, Vicki Meek is an independent curator and writes cultural criticism for Dallas Weekly with her blog Art & Racenotes and also wrote a monthly column, ARTiculate for TheaterJones, an online performing arts magazine.
Meek was an adjunct faculty member for UMass Arts Extension Program in Amherst, Massachusetts where she taught a course in Cultural Equity in the Arts. With over 40+ years of arts administrative experience that includes working as a senior program administrator for a state arts agency, a local arts agency and running a non-profit visual arts center, after 20 years, Vicki Meek retired in March 2016 as the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center in Dallas. She served on the board of National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network 2008-15 and was Chair from 2012-2014. In 2016, Meek was selected to be a Fellow in the Intercultural Leadership Institute and also became a Voting Member of Alternate Roots, a national artist service organization.
Vicki Meek currently spends time as Chief Operating Officer and Board Member of USEKRA: Center for Creative Investigation, a non-profit retreat for creatives in Costa Rica founded by internationally acclaimed performance artist Elia Arce. She is also Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s at-large appointment to the Arts and Culture Commission and the Public Art Committee. Meek is represented by Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, Texas.