Born and raised on her family’s 7-acre ranch in Auburn, Washington, African American sculptor Marita Dingus has been exhibiting her artwork locally and internationally for over 30 years. Working almost exclusively with found objects of every possible variety, Dingus’s work is a commentary on the enslavement of African people, recycling, and the politics of poverty. Her signature African-inflected figures of all sizes have become a familiar sight in the region, having been shown at galleries, museums, outdoor installations, and even on the walls of Town Hall Seattle, where her piece “Woman as the Creator” can be viewed on the 1st Floor.
Gary Faigin talks with her about her long career and where she plans to go from here.
Marita Dingus attended Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia (BFA, 1980) and San Jose State University (MFA, 1985). She has received a Visual Art Fellowship from Artist Trust (1994), a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship (1999), and the Morrie and Joan Alhadeff PONCHO Artist of the Year Award (2005).
Dingus has had solo shows at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and The Stenersen Museum, both in Norway (2002, 2006), as well as the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA (2005 – 2006). Her work has been included in Nature/Culture organized by The Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh (2006 – 2008), Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (2006 – 2007) and 21st Century American Women Artists at the Residence of the United States Ambassador to NATO in Brussels, Belgium (2006 – 2010). Her work is in many regional museums and corporate collections. Dingus currently lives and works in the state of Washington and is represented by Traver Gallery in Seattle.
Painter, critic, and author Gary Faigin is cofounder and Artistic Director of Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, as well as the school’s Still Life Atelier instructor. Faigin also serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he teaches facial expressions to graduate animation students and works on a research team studying the human perception of stylized facial expressions. He has taught in art schools across the country including the National Academy of Design and the Parsons School of Design. In 2001, Faigin published his first book, The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression, which has since been translated into seven languages and reprinted sixteen times.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and the Gage Academy of Art.