Offramp Gallery = 1702 Lincoln Avenue = Pasadena, CA 91103 = 626.298.6931 
Mark Steven Greenfield: Othello's Ghost
July 12 - August 23, 2009
Opening Reception: Sunday, July 12, 2-5pm
Closing Reception: Sunday, August 23, 2009
Mark Steven Greenfield 

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Artist's Statement: Othello’s Ghost 
The origins of the cosmetic practice of changing one’s skin color for theatrical performances are disputed, but perhaps one of the earliest recorded uses of blackface dates back to William Shakespeare’s, Othello, or the Moor of Venice in 1604. Othello’s character is complex and the story line is loaded with racist connotations, which have arguably influenced how black people have been perceived in subsequent centuries. In the United States, by the early eighteen hundreds, the characterization of African Americans was systematically distorted for purposes of social reclassification and political redefinition. The classic portrayal of a proud though homicidal, general in the Venetian army gave way to the less than dignified buffoonery of minstrelsy. This genre became the “boogieman” that has haunted this country for generations.  Now, in this current day atmosphere of openness, we can at long last have the honest conversations that have too often been avoided. In my most recent work I’m examining the effect these images have had on the collective subconscious of the American psyche. The most obvious stereotypical caricatures in this exhibition exist on the conscious level and serve as a starting point for this exploration. The other, more obscure pieces or “Mammygraphs” are abstracted representations of vertical pictographs mapping the distractions, traumas, obstacles, inhibitions, notions and guilt through which we navigate in order to reach the source of our spiritual selves.   

Mark Steven Greenfield   5/19/09

Mark Steven Greenfield
Specter, 2008
Coreplast, ink, acrylic paint
37" x 26" 

Mark Steven Greenfield
Lesson#2, 2003
ink Jet Print
34" x 22"
Mark Steven Greenfield
Spin Virus, 2004
15" x 20"
Video from opening reception, Sunday, July 12, 2009
Video walk-through of Mark Steven Greenfield: Othello's Ghost