5/6/10 12:53 PM
The cruel irony of Stacy Lynn Waddell’s dreamy, larger-than-life size drawings is that their technique is so wedded to their content. This may not seem like an irony per se, and certainly not a particularly cruel one, but here it is: Waddell burns, brands and singes paper in order to represent images of African-American history. Technique thus mimics part of the history it conveys, a history that involves a few hundred years of brutally mistreating, abusing, owning and even killing a large segment of the people living on American soil, simply for the dark color of their skin. Irony upon irony, that dark skin is most beautifully reproduced through these same non-traditional techniques. Waddell has a deft hand with the torch, and her application of fire to paper produces an effect akin to a delicate watercolor in subtle shades of brown. She uses this method to picture not only antebellum princesses but also Mississippi river boats, slave ships, foliage and birds, using them to suggest stories that, if not necessarily clear in their narration, are richly palpable in their presentation.