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Work Samples

devaneinstallation.jpg

spirit sculpture-installation
"Traces of the Spirit"-installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the Spring House. It's a series of separate spirit sculptures representing family, seasons, pilgrimage and Haitian folklore. The center sculpture entitled "Saint for my City" was in response to perceived needs for spiritual affirmation in Baltimore. the round pedestals is filled with "mica" chips.

Garden

spirit sculpture
Garden"2019 14"x8"x6" glass, wood, fabric, sequins clay. a legendary place in many religions. The terrestrial plane intended for humans to live in peace and innocence, reaping the fruits of the earth. Inside the glass dome is the apple (or forbidden fruit) all under the watchful eye.

Kronos/Collateral

spirit sculpture
Kronos/Collateral - 2018 20"x9"x9"mixed media (beads, plastic, metal, wire, glass)

Spring.jpg

spirit sculpture
Spring-glass, wood,metal,beads, sequins, plastic

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About Oletha

Howard County

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Oletha DeVane received her B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art and M.F.A. in painting from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.   As a multidisciplinary artist, her social, political and spiritual concerns are the content of her art practice.  Her first major exhibition was at the Springfield Museum of Art in Massachusetts in 1976. Since then, she has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions locally and internationally. The... more

From The Realm of Dust

"From the Realm of Dust" is a series of works about the human condition and our relationship to realms beyond us. It's archaically framed in the religious or mythical text as origin stories. The examples of work are assemblages.

  • mawumoongoddess.jpg

    Mawu spirit assemblage
    Assemblage: 2019 wood, acrylic, glass, beads, rope, resin on wood panel 54" x 36" x1.5" MAWU is a deity worshiped in coastal West Africa by the Fon. She is seen as a creator and is associated with the moon.
  • sirius-asteria

     assemblage
    Sirius-Asteria. 2020 assemblage: glass, fabric, acrylic, wood, paper. 54" x 36" x 1.5" Greek myth "Dog Star"Sirius-Asteria, which scorched the Minoan Islands from the sky, and was thought to have brought about the destruction of mankind. By so doing, he was responsible for saving the lives of the rest.
  • whathappenicarus.jpg

    spirit assemblage
    What ever happened to Icarus? 2020 56" x 34" x 1.5" 2020 Assemblage: acrylic, glass chips, rope, ceramic, wood, plastics
  • The Lote Tree

    spirit assemblage
    The Lote-Tree 2020 56" x 34" x 1.5 " beads, ceramic, fabric, glass, wood, . The lote tree marks the boundary ending at the seventh heaven. No soul is allowed to pass any further. Archangel Gabriel guards the passage.
  • Epiphany.jpg

    spirit assemblage
    Epiphany 2018 52"x 30"x 3.5" wood, glass, acrylic paint, bones, plastics an illuminating discovery.
  • beginning of spring

     assemblage
    Beginning of Spring 2020 24" x 36"h x 2" w acrylic, wood, beads, sequins, resin, glass on wood panel
  • Erzulie

    spirit assemblage
    Erzulie 2018 56" x 30" x 4" encaustic and acrylic on canvas with clay, beads, stones, mirrors, plastics,
  • Dumballa

    spirit assemblage
    Dumballa 2018 53" x 30" x 3" acrylic on panel, glass, beads, resin, crystals,clay, wood, fabric, metal
  • Subsumed by whiteness

    spirit assemblage
    Subsumed by Whiteness. 56" x 30" x 2" acrylic, glass, beads, bullet casing, wood, plaster, sweetgum pods, plastic
  • LOVE

    spirit sculpture assemblage
    LOVE spirit sculpture-2015 41"h x 16"w x 6" d. clay, wood, beads, metal

Spirit Sculptures and Assemblages


I’m a multidisciplinary artist whose work addresses cultural history and stories. My art practice is a synthesis between black culture and spirituality. I search for ways to evoke the sacred by reimagining mundane objects and materials of everyday use. I’m interested in the idiosyncratic ways to convey meaning and metaphorically, have the materials reemerge as myths and memories. The “spirit sculptures and assemblages” were inspired from a Haitian bottle given to me as a gift. I experiment with all kinds of materials, from clay, found objects, fabrics, glass, video and wood, hoping to reclaim the spiritual memory that came with us as Africans to the Americas. I continue to draw upon my experiences, politics and our place in world histories. The “spirit sculptures” emerged as a concept to harness blessings in response to intuitive, subliminal and fantastical phenomena.
Oletha DeVane

  • Woman Who Married a Snake

    spirit sculpture
    Woman Who Married a Snake-2017 (glass, metal, beads, plastics, mirrors, pebbles) 26" x 9"x9" Ayida-Weddo is a fertility spirit and she is known as the Rainbow Serpent. Her story originates in Benin and Haitian lore.
  • spirit erzulie

    spirit sculpture
    Spirit Erzulie-2017 24" x4" x3" (glass, beads, image transfer, wire, porcelain, fabric) 26"h x 4"w
  • Gemini

    spirit sculpture
    Gemini-two faces 2018 38" x10"x 11" (assemblage: wood,clay, hair, metal, sequin fabric, glass, bullet casings, beads)
  • Sanctuary

    spirit assemblage
    Sanctuary-2017 assemblage (glass, metal, beads, mirrors, bullet casings, plastics, acrylic, wood) apple inside represents black bodies.
  • Pilgrimage

    spirit sculpture
    Pilgrimage(Healer) 2018 30"x10"x10" (wood, fabric, glass, mirror, plastic, beads, clay, acrylic, buttons)
  • Medieval

    spirit sculpture
    Medieval-2017 23" x9" x6" glass, red feathers, wire, fabric, plastic, wood, beads, represents the Dark Ages of our times with the angels on either side are protective spirits. It's colors are the trickster.
  • Protector

    spirit sculpture
    Protector (nkisi figure) 2012 26"x 8"x 3" ceramic, beads, plastic, wood
  • Garden (back)

    spirit sculpture
    Back of Garden: 2019 14"x8"x6" ( glass, wood, sequins, beads, fabric, clay)
  • Keeper of the flame

    spirit sculpture
    Flame Keeper 2020 20"h x 6" x 6" glass, wood, fabric, cermamic, metal
  • Escape

    spirit sculpture
    "Escape" 2017 28" x 8" x8" clay, branches, sweetgum pods, glass represents the dangerous journey slaves faced escaping from Maryland's Eastern Shore to freedom. The sweet gum tree seedpods pierced the feet of runaways as they crept around or through marshes and fields as fugitives in the Underground Railroad.

Prints and Assemblages

A series of prints and solar etchings of Harriet Tubman, including "Starmap" and "Drinking Gourd" and assemblages responding to historical /mythical images

  • harriet in sweetgum

    solar etching
    Harriet in Sweetgum tree-22"x36" solar etching 2018
  • Minty

    solar print
    Minty-2017 solar etching of young Harriet Tubman in Sweet gum tree. 16" x 22"
  • Oracle

    solar print
    Oracle-solar etching 2017-the raven symbolizes an oracle-intelligent, courageous and singular in its pursuit. I've used it often to represent Harriet Tubman.
  • Sweetgum and Harriet

    solar etching
    Sweetgum and Harriet- 2017 solar etching -sweetgum tree/ balls reference Kate Clifford Larson’s book “Bound for the Promise Land”. Larson describes sweet gum balls as, “… large, round, balls covered with spiny, burrs. They litter the forest floor sometimes inches deep, nature’s bed of nails…” Those seedpods, once the medicine with aromatic therapeutic fragrance to the slaves;... would then, “pierce the calloused, unprotected feet of terrified runaway slaves. The seeds from the sweet gum tree would be among the first obstacles on the road to freedom.”
  • Starmap

    van dyke print
    Star map 22"x 30" 2010 Harriet Tubman series( works on paper). van dyke and burnt marks on rives paper
  • Drinking gourd

    cyanotype print
    Drinking Gourd-(from H.Tubman series) 2010 (cyanotype, wood, fabric, sequins, acrylic)
  • An American story

    solar etching
    An American Story- 2009 solar etching using found and archival images: the soldier is WW1, the woman circa 1860's and photos of cotton pickers.
  • Raven

    spirit assemblage
    Raven 2019 18"x 4" x 4". glass, feathers, beads, wood, plastic The raven symbolizes an oracle – an intelligent, courageous bird which invokes the future.
  • Call to Freedom

    solar print
    Call to Freedom: nine solar etchings 90"h x 66"w The raven represent Harriet Tubman and the sweet gum ball, are large round, seedpods coverer with spiny, burrs. Nature’s "bed of nails" piercing the calloused, unprotected feet of terrified runaway slaves. The sweet gum tree would be among the first obstacles on the road to freedom.”
  • Sugarcane Blues

    solar print
    Sugarcane Blues 2020 solar/digital etching on rives. 22"x 30"

Sacred Geometry

Sacred Geometry is a book art project

Connect with Oletha

Oletha's Curated Collection

View Oletha's favorite works from other Baker Artists