Exhibition Dates:  October 15 through November 13, 2004


The Carl Hammer Gallery proudly introduces the multi-media artwork of Alicia Henry in her first solo appearance here.  An Illinois native, Ms. Henry received her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute, then she received an M.F.A. from Yale, and she has gone on to garner numerous awards and grants from different foundations including the Ford Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.  She has had exhibitions at the Cheekwood Museum and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.  Ms. Henry now teaches art at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

The most common element in all of her work is her affinity for studying the human figure and representing it as a means of exploring the tensions between our physical, psychological, and social selves.  And although Henry often depicts faces as mirrors of identity, she is not a typical portrait artist, who might seek to reveal an underlying psychological truth about the subject by emphasizing his or her unique features and expressive posture.  Henry is more an anti-portraitist, who depicts the exterior façade as a shield protecting aspects of the self that will always remain hidden beneath the surface, or that may indeed be absent.

Alicia Henry’s sometimes impassive and often frightening figures evoke certain carved African masks, particularly those whose features are frozen into a symbolically weighted and monumental facial conformation.  In traditional tribal usage, such objects are employed ceremonially; the wearer is believed to be literally transformed by the mask into the deity or spirit that it embodies.  Ms. Henry does not ascribe such animistic powers to her works; nevertheless, she does seek to imbue each of her faces and figures with a unique persona and a sense of human presence that hides beneath its expressionless surface.[i]

This current body of new work especially explores the complexities and contradictions surrounding familial relationships and well as societal differences and how these differences affect the individual (specifically female) and group responses to themes of Identity, the Body, and Beauty.

Mark Scala, curator, Alicia Henry, black and blue: recent works. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN.






MFA        Yale University School of Art
        Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
BFA        The Art Institute of Chicago


2002    Greece Residency (Spring)
2000-2001    Guggenheim Fellowship
Art in General Residency (Fall)
1993    MacDowell Art Colony (Summer)
1991-1993    Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown (Fellowship)
1992    Hillwood Art Museum
1989-1991    Ford Foundation Fellowship
1990    Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
1986-1988    The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Merit Award)


2005    Alicia Henry, Northeastern Illinois University Gallery, Chicago IL
2004                    Alicia Henry, Rhodes College/ Clough- Hanson Gallery, Memphis, TN
2003    Alicia Henry, South Bend Regional Art Center, IN Oct
Art of Tennessee, Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville, TN Sept-Dec
Material Presence, McLean County Arts Center, Bloomington, IL
Alicia Henry: Black and Blue, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
Fisk Faculty Exhibition, Carl Van Vechten Gallery, Nashville, TN
Remembrance, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
2002                    Paper Cuts, Islip Museum, Islip, NY
The Carpenter Jr. Collection, Fifty Years of Supporting the New, The   
 Alderich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT
Flying Solo, Nashville International Airport, Nashville, TN
Totally Art Centric 13, Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, TN
What a Doll, Central Washington University, WA
Reactions, Exit Art, NY
2000                    Four Corners, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Switchyard, Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TN
Alicia Henry: Mostly, One Good Thing, NY

2000        From the Heart, Education Alliance Gallery, NY
Family Portrait, Art in General, NY
Alicia Henry: Untitled, Cheekwood Museum, Nashville, TN
1999    From Africa to America, William Regional Art Center, Abingdon, VA
N4Art, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
The Stroke, Exit Art/ First World Gallery, NY
Metaphor, Henry Street Settlement Abrons Art Center, NY
1997    A Passion for Pictures, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
1996    Charles H. Carpenter, Odyssey of a Collector, Carnegie Museum of Art
Alicia Henry: Objects, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
1993        Alicia Henry: Figures, Universal Fine Objects Gallery, Provincetown, MA
1992                Other Politics, Higgins Art Gallery, Cape Cod College
1991    On Target, Zephyr Gallery, Louisville, KY


Art of Tennessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, catalogue 2003

Black and Blue, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, catalogue essay by Mark Scala, 2002

We Hide, She Seeks, article by Alan Bostick, Tennessean p. 8-13 Feb. 16, 2003

Paper Cuts, Islip Art Museum, catalogue 2003

Remembrance, review by Cara Jepsen for the Reader, Jan. 10, 2003

Recycling Paper: Not Just for the Environment, review by Helen A. Harrison for the New York Times Jan 5, 2003

Alicia Henry, review by Susan Knowles for Arts Paper May/June 2001