Erzulie’s Mirror (The Crying Mirror), 2013. Wood, gold and silver leaf, Rhinestones, Plexiglas, fabric, and synthetic rubies, 33 x 25 x 4 in.

Renee Stout: Formal Divination

The quiet nuances on the surface of Renee Stout’s work are just the tip of the iceberg, though the subterranean rumblings may be hard to decipher without a fundamental knowledge of Yoruba, Vodoun, and Hoodoo culture. Stout’s metaphors are steeped in mysticism and the undercurrents of a spiritual world made material. Her sculptures, installations, and two-dimensional works spanning three decades reinterpret aspects of belief systems culled from the Congo, West Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans and reconfigure those ideas through a personal iconography. Systems of divination and conjuring, as well as her personal deities and their related signs and symbols, are subsumed into thought-provoking works designed to conceal as much as they reveal. When I first I entered Stout’s home studio three years ago, the parlor was almost completely white. My eyes gravitated to a huge fireplace and a shelf laden with bottles of perfume, some empty and others containing remnants of scent. The attractiveness of the vials might explain their presence in such abundance, but I saw vestiges of Oshun, Yemaja, and Oya. …see the entire article in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.