Robert Pruitt discussing his work at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. 2011.x
Robert Pruitt: Artist Interview
Artist: Robert Pruitt
Robert Pruitt’s work reflects his own cultural duality as a black man living and working in Houston. His sculptures, such as Headdress with Lugar Pistol (2011), and the series of photographs created during his residency, Untitled Photographs (2011), deftly weave the simmering violence in contemporary American culture into a collaged narrative of tradition and pageantry. Pruitt is known for his large, stark drawings: portraits on kraft paper, poetic odes to individuals simultaneously embracing and resisting the cultural codes they’ve grown up in. The influence of stereotype can be insidious; the act of resistance is often quirky and deeply personal. Pruitt’s drawings capture this. With these new photographs and sculptures (which imply performances might be in the artist’s future), Pruitt has pushed his resistance into a fictional narrative past tense, intertwining current conceptual practice into the traditional idiom of the formal portrait, confronting an African past with an American present and creating a body of work which advances his practice significantly.