Rohnert Park, CA
Cries and Whispers presents the work of two Northern California artists—John Yoyogi Fortes who lives in Sacramento, while Cate White is based in Oakland—who share an obvious love of the painting process. While their imagery is clearly distinct from one another, they both create complex, colorful, and personal paintings that at times evoke graffiti art and the narrative quality of graphic novels. In addition, each artist employs text in their work that often echoes the title of the painting and can add to—or obscure—its meaning. Regarding his paintings, Fortes writes that “the underlying theme of my work is self-examination. Drawing inspiration from many sources, I often gravitate toward dark humor and a raw, quirky, naive aesthetic. I use humor, text and comic imagery as an invitation into my work.” For White, she has stated that her depictions of friends and family in her Oakland neighborhood began “outside any art-world discourse about race and representation.” She calls painting a “tool for reconciliation” and further suggests that art has the power to “counter the cultural trance of normal.”
Both Fortes and White are award-winning artists: Fortes has received grants from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, while White received the Tournesol Award from the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and recently completed a one year artist residency in Roswell, New Mexico.
Exhibition overview from museum website