Paintings and Installations

Persimmon Tree is delighted to honor Henrietta Mantooth by including her work in this issue. As she has written, “Art is about bravery—not knowing what you are doing until you do it. Letting the paint itself create the reality that you don’t yet know exists. Technique and meaning are discovered simultaneously.”

Henrietta Mantooth grew up in Missouri during the time of economic depression, dust storms, corrupt politics, and rank racial inequality. Yet there were the dime stores for delight and inspiration. She made toys from mud, sticks, hollyhocks, corncobs, and corn silk, and concocted paint from mulberries, beets, boiled onions, and washtub bluing. All this still affects her approach to materials and technique. Living in Latin America for eighteen years, first as a journalist then as a painter, also made a strong impact on her, as did working in experimental theater. She was political even as a child. Her present work is witness to the news of today, such as the predicament of migrants, refugees, and other unnamed protagonists in an unsafe world. Yet birds fly in and flowers bloom in her paintings.

Griot Cloth: Oral History
Griot Cloth: Oral History
Installation for Story Telling
Acrylic on Canvas, 2007-8
Wall: 90 X 72 inches
Floor: 98 72 inches

Flight and Landing
Flight and Landing
Acrylic on Linen, 2007
140 X 68 inches

Acrylic on Canvas, 2006
36 X 36 inches

Caminho Longe
Caminho Longe (Long Journey)
Installation, Acrylic on Masonite, 2006
144 X 108 inches

The Releasing of Captive Flowers
The Releasing of Captive Flowers
Acrylic on Canvas, 2005
84 X 72 inches

Bird's Story
Bird’s Story
Acrylic & Xerox on Canvas & Cloth, 2008
80 X 144 inches

Gathinging at Dusk
Gathering at Dusk
Acrylic on Paper with Cutouts, 2007
30 X 40 inches

Refugees: On the Road
Roses & Refugees
Acrylic on Cloth, 2006
44 X 58 inches

Roses and Refugees
Refugees: On the Road
Acrylic on Cloth, 2005
88 X 84 inches

Acrylic & Xerox on Handmade Paper, 2007
7 X 9 inches

Los Zapatistas
Los Zapatistas (detail)
(Two big heads (faces) with roses)
Acrylic on Canvas, 2006
84 X 144 inches (original painting)

Bird Totem
Bird Totem
(Seven birds each perched on another)
Acrylic on Canvas Paper, 2007
60 X 30 inches

Men Making Decisions
Men Making Decisions
(Men in black & gray suits standing,writing above)
Acrylic on Paper & Cloth, 2006
48 X 28 inches


Henrietta Mantooth's work has been exhibited in the Queens Museum of Art, The American Academy of Arts and Letters in N.Y.C., The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, The Museum of Modern Art in Brazil, and in numerous galleries and collections across America. She has received awards and fellowships from the Mc Dowell Colony, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Santa Fe Institute, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, among others.

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