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Oletha DeVane: Traces of the Spirit

June 20, 2019 - October 20, 2019

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Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218


Projected lights, sounds, and reflective surfaces convey a sense of flowing water in Oletha DeVane’s installation, Traces of the Spirit, presented inside the BMA’s Spring House. The exhibition references the building’s past as a dairy and place where enslaved people were forced to labor and creates an altar-like location for a selection of the artist’s spirit sculptures. For these totem-like objects, DeVane (American, b. 1950) adorns hollow glass vessels with pieces from her collection of found objects such as beads, wood, mirrors, plastic figurines, sequins, fabric, and even bullet casings. These elements are applied in conjunction, at times, with small, expressive clay heads shaped by the artist, giving voice and life to the sculptures. DeVane draws upon spiritual and African diasporic traditions to reference stories, prayers, and myths. Snakes, birds, saints, and mermaids populate the dense surfaces. The resulting works evoke the possibilities of spiritual communication and transformation.

Event Details

Event Category General Information Neighborhood

  • Art Museums & Galleries
  • Free Admission
  • Charles Village


Event Category
  • Art Museums & Galleries
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General Information
  • Free Admission
  • See less
  • Charles Village
  • See less