The Many Faces of Marita Dingus

copyright joan beard and marita dingus 2020

I wrote this statement for Marita Dingus' exhibit at the Traver Gallery in November 5th, 2020.

Marita Dingus’ work evokes the spiritual. Her work which is assembled of repurposed remnants of our culture are woven together to create figures. Each one suggests individual moments / senses. Collectively her pieces create a landscape of what and who will neither be ignored or forgotten.

The combination of her inscrutable painted faces supported by bodies built of discarded electrical wire, colorful single use plastic and shards of glass create bodies that are transparent, vulnerable and strong. Marita Dingus’ work is in stark contrast to figures made of stone and metal. The way in which they are joined suggests the objects were created out of a deep need bring disparate elements together to share their combined wisdom. The work embodies the connection between people and the material world around them.

The work reflects the Artists’ perspective as a Black Woman exploring a range of emotions that include Black people being joyful to expressions of the grief. Her stand ins are always autonomous, maintaining their sense of self beyond deep challenges. Her sculptures place us in a dialogue about the long-term historical scars in our culture. Collectively, we share our twin histories of black and indigenous lives being exploited and murdered, both hidden and in plain sight. The disregard of people is echoed in relationship to land and objects. Her reclaiming of people and “waste” inherently suggests a more connected and respectful path.

By making a record of what has always existed, joy and sorrow, her sculptures engage the viewer in the act of empathizing with distinct figures and witnessing a nondominant perspective. Her work occupies a spiritual space that invites us to visit and honor the ghosts of our history. In that realm, we can bear witness and step into our journey of wonder and repair.