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“We Were Laughing on the Sun Porch” by Renee Stout: September Collection Highlight

In this interview, Renee Stout offers insight into her process and the alter ego she channels to bring her evocative artworks to life.

By Eva Berlin, Digital Content Specialist, High Museum of Art

Video credit: Ashley Wills

Renee Stout’s poetic artworks —layered with deftly painted trompe l’oeil details and vivid, weathered textures—evoke the gauzy, peculiar stuff of memory.

Stout’s fictitious alter ego Fatima Mayfield is among the many imaginary figures whose lives unfold in her work. Stout has described Mayfield as a “vehicle that allows me to role play in order to confront the issues, whether it’s romantic relationships, social ills, or financial woes, in a way that’s open, creative and humorous.”

Her paintings We Shared a Ripe Mango, No Match for Your Demons, We Were Laughing on the Sun Porch, and The Missing Book comprise a suite of four paintings titled Pretty Wings (Part 1) based on imaginary memories that Mayfield may have shared with others.

Each panel presents a vignette painted and composed with assemblage in a magic-realist style, providing fragments of a narrative that the viewer is invited to reconstruct.

These paintings beg in-person, up-close examination. See all four works on view in Pioneers, Influencers, and Rising Voices: Women in the Collection, an installation composed entirely of work by women artists in the High’s collection.

This is just one of more than seventeen thousand artworks in our collection. The High is your place for digital content!

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