top of page

Iconographic iconography of well-known icons

Updated: Apr 10

This week was filled with openings, meet-ups, concerts, parties, meals, and making art together - all serving to underscore the eclectic talents of our diverse and deeply supportive inter-generational community!


The earthquake, which happened as I worked on this recap, set off a frantic flurry of texts, calls, emails from our AYB posse.  In typical Brooklynite fashion, I assumed the rock and rattle was caused by the tree being felled in my neighbor’s yard, and was thus alerted, then buoyed by the care and concern from our crew. Did you notice that squawking Emergency Alert that gets everyone’s phone into a blaring unison came in at least 20 minutes AFTER the earthquake?


In this week's Monday Zoom session, Vee Tineo presented an ART YARD Advanced Studio lesson on, Body Prints by David Hammons. These works, created in the 1970's, combine the iconographic iconography of well-known icons, such as the American flag and a map of the continental 48 states, adorned with body and face prints of the artist, to fashion new ironic, iconic, politically charged icons. Vee noted this approach is not unlike that of Andy Warhol, in the way he used famous icons to comment on contemporary American society.

Vee summarizes: “My lesson was inspired by David Hammons' prints from the 1970s, which utilize body and iconographic imagery to craft narratives.

Marilyn visualized this concept with her piece, depicting hands in our world symbolizing our control to make it a better, safer place for the environment and each other.


Marilyn August, Iconographic Narratives inspired by David Hammons

Meanwhile, Meridith drew archival artistic inspiration from her nephew Colin, recreating his BETTER FUTURE collage as a paper chain and key sculpture. The key, designed with a heart, symbolizes empathy and compassion as tools to break chains.

Colin McNeal, BETTER FUTURE (center), installed at Corridor Gallery

Meridith McNeal, Iconographic Narratives inspired by David Hammons

Ed incorporated archival imagery, juxtaposing an enslaved person with the seal of the Cherokee Nation to shed light on the unique experiences of Black and Indigenous identity.


Ed Rath, Iconographic Narratives inspired by David Hammons

Lastly, Karla focused on the narrative of the buffalo, emphasizing its significance in supporting Indigenous communities throughout the Americas and sharing their history of near extinction.”

Karla Prickett, Iconographic Narratives inspired by David Hammons

Karla adds: Thank you Vee for a most interesting lesson in the power and meaning of icons. Everyone’s concept became a narrative collage of symbolic and meaningful shapes and imagery. I selected the American Bison (Buffalo) as my central icon. I had just visited a bison herd this past weekend and learned that the Bronx Zoo in New York saved this magnificent American icon from total extinction in the early 1900s by sending twenty of their bison in captivity to a refuge in Oklahoma where efforts began to increase the population.  I incorporated the shape of New York in my landscape with the rolling prairie in cut-out shorthand lessons. The shorthand is symbolic of language and prairie grasses. The white buffalo represents near extinction and the black the restored population. The sky is part of a drawing I did in grade school from my Jon Gnagy “Learn To Draw” book! Reminded me of sunrises and sunsets on the prairie. 

At critique, participants complimented Vee for introducing the work of David Hammons, which was previously unknown to some of us.  And we enjoyed the challenge to walk in his shoes.


On Tuesday ART YARD Advanced Studio in person attended ART YARD Artist Vee Tineo’s graduate school thesis exhibition, In The Fear Of The Unsaid at Queens College.

In The Fear Of The Unsaid by Vee Tineo installation at Queens College. Photo by Jane Huntington.

Ed reports: “On Tuesday Vee presented their thesis show within a public opening that included a performance, followed by a Q & A session.

The multi-media installation includes large wall-hung prints on fabric; large and small wall-mounted sculptures; a burning votive candle tucked into a hidden wall niche; and several free-standing sculptures.  On first glance, one sees the works are made from a combination of found objects, trash, hair, and artist-manufactured objects, many made of fired, glazed clay. 

Vee Tineo, In The Fear Of The Unsaid at Queens College installation view. Photo by Jane Huntington.

The over-riding theme of the show is human suffering and death.  The theme is expressed in both personal and public iconography.


Against a wall, near the entry to the show, sits a pair of crossed, clay legs.  They are connected to a metal mask by a wire.  Through holes drilled in "the head," a dim light flashes, hinting at some kind of brain activity, not fully connected to a working body, perhaps a pun on, Brain Dead?

Vee Tineo, installation view, In The Fear Of The Unsaid at Queens College

At various points on the walls we find hair, braided and woven with rope, and small ceramic wolf heads.  The materials, personal, banal and dissimilar, interspersed with toy guns and surveillance cameras, somehow work visually, and integrate as a whole, with new meaning. 

Vee Tineo, Installation view In The Fear Of The Unsaid at Queens College

Next we encounter a large, white glazed ceramic vessel, atop a pile of dirt.  The mound, full of empty booze bottle, toy guns, cigarette packets, bullet casings, and other detritus, holds a machete (the sword of Damocles?) stuck in the heap like King Arthur's sword, awaiting a hero to free it, to slay the beasts of greed and corruption, selfishness, cruelty and injustice, to lift the little guys from the dung heap, level the playing field, bring down the Ivory Tower of cultural exclusivity.


The central protagonist of the show, what I call, "The Buddha of the Broken Plates," is a sculpture constructed of a stack of irregular, handmade clay discs full of holes, and a coat hanger shaped piece of re-bar piercing its head. Ghastly and gory though it may be, the character, like the great statues of the Buddha found throughout Asia, seems strangely at peace with itself.  Through the layers of clay, water leaks, tears perhaps, or other bodily fluids—pure, clean water, like a fountain to refresh the Earth—parched Earth, abused, used, decrepit Mother Earth, wasteland of human society.


Vee in the space with visitors (that looks like Susan Hamberger to me on the right!). Photo by Eugenie Chao.

Vee, The Artist, bionic breastplate of sgraffito fired glazed clay, two small hand guns fused to their clavicles, point to their head, ready to kill them, random and imminent violent death.


Vee, conduit of the all-encompassing cultural pain, pain of the forgotten ones who witness the American dream from afar—far, far, from their feeble grasp.

Vee, personifying the universal suffering, reborn a Phoenix, reinvented selves an artist—like Frida Kahlo, spokesperson for the world, through her personal suffering, embodying ours.


We salute you.”

Vee Tineo and Eugenie Chao. Photo by Candy Heiland.


Schools are still on spring vacation. We will be back at ART YARD Art Matters at PS6 next week!


Art Opportunities


You are encouraged to apply to participate in the second annual Valley Cottage Library’s Banned Book Trading Card Project. Selected artists will have work included in the deck of trading cards and in an exhibition at the library in September 2024!

Banned Book Trading Cards from 2023 deck (cards by AYB Artists Fatima Traore and Eden-Nicole Moore on top)


Other Art News


ART YARD Artist Jacob Rath writes from Italy: “I just visited Pompei today. I've wanted to go since I was five years old! I made a painting of Mt. Vesuvius.


Jacob Rath, Mt. Vesuvius, 2024, watercolor on paper

I also spent the last few days with Rachel and Rich in Florence and Siena. It was great to see them! I don't have any of the pictures of us together (I think Rachel took them all). I thought you'd appreciate this self-portrait we saw at the Uffizi. 


Self portrait at the Uffizi, photo by Jacopo Rath

 ART YARD Artist Karla Prickett shares: "I was just notified I have two artworks accepted in the 55th Smoky Hill Art exhibition in Hays, KS. 

Karla Prickett, Rote 36” x 36” mixed media collage on canvas

Karla Prickett, Solutions 30” x 30” mixed media collage on canvas

I’ve been busy matting, floating, and framing 30 Art Yard works for my May/June show here in Salina, KS at Peaceful Body Lobby Gallery. A Busy time!!!!!"



ART YARD Artist Dede Lovelace was one of the DJs at the Young Collector’s Party at the Guggenheim.  After her set, Dede, her friend Larry and I had the opportunity to look at some of Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility an exhibition of works of art that feature partially obscured or hidden figures. The classic arcs of the building looked festive with art projections.


Last weekend ART YARD Artists Jules Lorenzo and Liv Collins performed with their band Joopi at a street festival in New Haven, CT.  

Liv explains in more detail: "Joopi, a Brooklyn based indie band featuring AYB artists Jules Lorenzo and Liv Collins got to rock it out at the Mini Thrift 2 Death St. Market in New Haven, CT last Saturday! 🎸🎶 Audubon St. was buzzing with creatives from all over the tristate area, celebrating thrift, vintage finds, and handmade treasures. Joopi will be performing a free show on April 4th at Wonderville in Bushwick!”

Liv Collins, Joopi - photos by Bri Wilson; Jules Lorenzo photo by Josh Cartin


HEADS UP: next Tuesdays April 9 (8pm), ART YARD Advanced Studio will meet at Wonderville 1186 Broadway, Brooklyn for a field trip to see Jules and Liv perform live with Joopi!!!



PS If you didn’t make it out the Brooklyn Seltzer Museum for the opening of Fizz, you missed a great party! Rocco hooked us up with excellent wine, Dede made a great playlist and Brooklyn Seltzer Boys Kenny and Alex mixed up chocolate and vanilla egg creams for all of us!!


My seltzer paintings are really popular with collectors! However, there is one piece still available for a lucky art (and/or seltzer) lover! The bonus -- 100% of the proceeds will be donated to ART YARD BKLYN!


Meridith McNeal, Hand Holding Seltzer Bottle, 2023, watercolor on cut shaped paper, 10x6x2”

127 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page