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andrea geyer

Constellations. 2018. size variable, black and white hand-cut archival print.

Geyer began her ongoing series of collages Constellations with black-and-white portraits—some photographs and some reproductions of paintings—of women whose salons were significant in shaping the culture and politics of their respective time periods, including both legendary women and lesserknown figures. Out of each portrait, Geyer hand-cut unique prismatic segments and then reintegrated the segments into the image, turning some of them 180 degrees, and leaving between them a small gap. The reconfigured portraits underscore how the stories, actions, and legacies of these important women and their salons are refracted and obscured and, at the same time, delineate a new kind of visibility and recognition.

The image that Geyer chose of A’Lelia Walker, for example, depicts a smiling woman who looks at the camera while hugging one knee to her chest in a casual recline. The daughter of the first female self-made millionaire in America, Madam C. J. Walker, A’Lelia was renowned for her philanthropy and social and political activism. Upon inheriting her mother’s wealth in the 1920s, A’Lelia created a salon called the Dark Tower, where key figures of the Harlem Renaissance gathered. At her Harlem home, a variety of individuals (including artists, writers, business people, and lawyers) came together in a secure space for self-expression and artistic development.

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To date, the series includes:
Constellations (A’Lelia Walker)
Constellations (Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein with Pepe and Basket)
Constellations (Carrie Stettheimer after Arnold Genthe)
Constellations (Dorothy Peterson after Carl Van Vechten)
Constellations (Florine Stettheimer after Arnold Genthe)
Constellations (Frida Kahlo after Toni Frissell)
Constellations (Henriette Herz after Georg Friedrich Schöner)
Constellations (Hester Thrale after John Singleton Copley)
Constellations (Hilde Radusch and Eddy Klopsch)
Constellations (Jessie Redmon Fauset)
Constellations (Ladies of Llangollen: Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby after Lady Leighton) Constellations (Lydia Cabrera)
Constellations (Mabel Luhan Dodge after Carl Van Vechten)
Constellations (María Teresa de Rojas “Titin”)
Constellations (Natalie Barney after Carl Van Vechten)
Constellations (Rahel Varnhagen von Ense)
Constellations (Regina M. Andrews after Campbell, N.Y.C.)