MILDRED HOWARD'S BLACKBIRD IN A RED SKY
(a.k.a. FALL OF THE BLOOD HOUSE)

July 6, 2002 – April 5, 2005

Organized by Museum of Glass

Mildred Howard's work draws on a wide range of historical experiences and deals with family, history, home and memory.  As a result, generations of story telling, which she calls collective memory, are present in her work.  Howard feels that once she completes a work of art, she becomes a spectator and another story is created.

Well known for her use of ordinary objects, Howard creates her installations with mixed media, often using stereotypical images, to deal with issues of domesticity, gender and race.  Architectural elements, as well as found and purchased objects, are employed to create her unique visual language.

The humanistic referents in Blackbird in a Red Sky, also
known as
Fall of the Blood House—African-American history
and the feminine—are important to me.  I contemplate how,
in an ostensibly open-ended continuum of received knowledge,
personal narrative and established histories can shape
understanding.
—Mildred Howard 

Significant in forming Howard's approach to art was her parents' antique business as well as their consistent political activism in labor unions, civil rights struggles and community issues.  In the early 1980s, Howard's architectural constructions began as manipulated windows from storefronts and churches.  They later evolved into constructed habitats that provided walk-in environments.  The home has been a vital theme in Howard's installations, which often depend on the repetition and accumulation of identical forms which she states, "suggest memory and the passage of time."

 

 

Image credit:
Mildred Howard (American, born 1945), Blackbird in a Red Sky (a.k.a. Fall of the Blood House), 2002. Art glass, wood, blown glass and ambient light. Photo by Duncan Price.

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