Yvette Rock received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper Union in New York City and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She spent one year as a Visiting Scholar during her post-graduate stint at U of M. It was during this time that Rock conceived of Detroit Connections, a program that fostered collaboration between U of M and Detroit schools and organizations. She has worked as artist-in-residence with InsideOut Literary Arts Project, founded a local after-school program, is a community activist, and collaborates with artists of various disciplines. Rock has exhibited throughout southeast Michigan, including the Carr Center, Detroit Artists Market, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Ellen Kayrod Gallery, and National Conference of Artists. She is the founder and CEO of Live Coal Gallery, a social venture whose purpose is to foster a passion for art, community, and learning. In 2018, she opened The RED, a children's art museum in Detroit. Live Coal is a 2017 and 2019 Knight Arts Challenge winner. Rock is a 2019 Facing Change: Documenting Detroit fellow. She lives in Detroit with her husband and four children.
I am a visual artist exploring the human experience through performance art, multi-media art, and mixed media painting/collage. Over the years, I have found that I am drawn to topics that have had a personal effect on me and people and places I deeply connect with. I often employ the power of the figurative form (whether representative or abstract renditions of it) to reclaim a vision of people whose bodies or histories are not accounted for, nor treated with care and attention. My convictions lead me to create works that show the human experience in various historical and present-day contexts while considering a future existence. In the past, I primarily share these stories and concepts through traditional methods of art-making. However, in 2016, I discovered the power of performance art and its ability to challenge the art-making process I had grown so comfortable with. I find performance art to be unpredictable and complex. It has awakened in me a desire to engage all of my senses. In “Cord Dance,” my first fully choreographed performance work, sound became crucial in communicating love and pain. In “400” the sound of 400 bronze bells sewed onto my garment guided my inner and outer movements. The bells symbolize 400 years since enslaved Africans first landed in America. In “Money Head Performs Independence Day 2019,” fireworks engaged my sense of sight, sound, and smell. "Money Head" is an ongoing series exploring the role of money in our lives.
Performance art has given me a new lens by which to experience the world and interpret the human experience. Today, I often envision performance works in my mind while making paintings, photographs, drawings, and mixed media works, as if they were scripts for future performances. As an artist, being able to experiment and stretch myself is extremely important. I thrive on going deeper, and opening myself to new mediums, techniques, approaches, and ideas.
Video by Nathan Clark, Christianity Today, 2012
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