Ave Pildas, Phyllis in Still (Sitting), 2023, Detail


Phyllis Green’s studio practice is centered on using diverse materials and craft processes to construct multifarious identities. The sculptures included here, “Still (Sitting)” and “Still (Standing), continue Green’s “investigation of spiritual and social meaning as expressed in ritual objects and clothing… A major inspiration for the sculptures is the costume associated with the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomble, which originated in the coastal state of Bahia, Brazil. The religion involves divination, sacrifice, healing music and dance, and spirit possession rituals.” Candomble dress is a combination of African and European elements. Patterns, colors, and styles of dress were freely mixed across cultures. According to the artist, “the most prominent feature borrowed from Candomble is the box-like rectangular structure that is positioned on the head. These headpieces provide shelter while the multicolored prints and stripes of the drapes that emanate from them offer seclusion and isolation.” These physical elements personify the isolation experienced by the artist during Covid. Collectively, Green refers to this series of work as Abitos. (The Italian term “abito” means at the same time “I inhabit” and “dress”.) The photograph by Ave Pildas is a portrait of the artist inhabiting “Still (Sitting).”

Phyllis Green began her career as an artist, educator and curator in Los Angeles in 1981 when she received her MFA from UCLA. Though she has worked in video, installation and performance, she is primarily an object maker who represents the body. Over thirty years, these bodily surrogates have taken the form of skeletal fragments, organs, containers and garments. Through them, Green constructs and projects a multifarious identity. Her sculpture has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally for forty years. She is the recipient of individual artist’s fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the City of Los Angeles, the Durfee Foundation, the City of Santa Monica and The California Community Foundation. The J.S. Guggenheim Foundation named her a Fellow in Fine Arts in 2014. She has taught extensively at universities in Southern California, including Loyola Marymount University, UCLA and USC.


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