Chicago

Bethany Collins, The Odyssey: 2000/1980/2001 (detail), 2018, triptych, graphite and toner on paper, each sheet 44 × 90". Photo: Aron Gent.

Bethany Collins

PATRON

Bethany Collins, The Odyssey: 2000/1980/2001 (detail), 2018, triptych, graphite and toner on paper, each sheet 44 × 90". Photo: Aron Gent.

“I’ve been told that my mother’s name was Millie.” So wrote Lula Montgomery in an 1898 newspaper ad filled with half-remembered names, which Montgomery paid for in hopes that a reader might reconnect her with the family she lost when she was sold, as a baby, into the hands of a different slave owner in Richmond, Virginia. Adopting the heading of this ad for the work Do You Know Them? (1898), 2018, Bethany Collins embossed Montgomery’s words twice over on a fragile sheet of crimson newsprint, resurrecting their haunting refrain; the other nine sheets that comprise this work echo the words written by other men and women who had also been separated from their families.  

For Collins’s solo show at Patron, the newsprint represented one of three techniques that the artist has previously used to manipulate text. Help me to find my people, 2018, which aligned with Do You Know Them? (1898)

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