Nathaniel Donnett Paper or Plastic?

August 21, 2009 – September 26, 2009 Gracie R. Cavnar Gallery

Nathaniel Donnett is interested in the study of human behavior, its psychological and emotional impact on society and how society affects the collective and individual consciousness of African Americans and African American culture. He addresses social issues and the human condition through observational analysis, narratives, codes, and signifiers. Donnett uses traditional and non-traditional materials to reconstruct the meaning of these materials and objects while shifting through frameworks of time references and fluctuating dual meanings of communication. Donnett’s Plastic or Paper series references the historic brown paper bag test that was used to separate darker and lighter-skinned African Americans, thus creating a sense of division, neglect, ostracism, and envy. This series explores its history and the effect of the test, the social residue, and its impact on contemporary society. A hierarchy was created within the African American community with issues of hair texture, skin tone, and the acceptance or rejection of African features as it relates to beauty. This work is also a metaphor that uses art as a healing agent by analyzing and confronting personal baggage.