Born: Dallas, Georgia 1929
Died: Tennessee 1994
painted wood, beads, rhinestones, sequins, glitter and nail 9 1/2 x 35 3/4 x 17 7/8 in. (24.2 x 90.8 x 45.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase and gift of Estelle E. Friedman
Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, West Wing
Bessie Harvey used branches, roots, and found objects to make sculptures that reflected her deep spirituality and spoke about the challenges she had faced. Harvey explained that her art came from her own struggle. She remembered her hunger during the Depression and making her own toys from twigs and branches as a child. Harvey married at fourteen and by age thirty-five had borne eleven children. “I didn’t really become human until my youngest was half-grown,” she explained, noting the intense struggle of providing for her children. Often painted black or dark brown, Harvey’s sculptures are raw and emotive. Her natural forms convey a view that God and nature are one and that her gift was the ability to make something from nothing.
Figure group - female and child
State of being - other - pregnant
glass - rhinestone
plant material - roots
readymade - beads
About Bessie Harvey
Born: Dallas, Georgia 1929 Died: Tennessee 1994
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