Yvette Rock is a visual artist based in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated with a BFA from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1997 and an MFA in painting from University of Michigan in 1999. She is currently pursuing a K-12 Art Education Certificate from College for Creative Studies. Rock is the co-founder of Detroit Connections, an on-going program that connects University of Michigan students, staff and faculty with Detroit schools. She has been a teaching artist in Detroit public schools since 1999 and continues to partner with organizations to bring visual arts to children. In 2012 she founded Live Coal Gallery, LLC (LCG) – a small business in Detroit. LCG was a recipient of the 2017, 2019, and 2021 Knight Arts Challenge. Rock is the Founder and Executive Director of Live Coal, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization transforming lives and neighborhoods through art, community development, and education. As a practicing artist, she exhibits widely in southeast Michigan. Her mixed media work on canvas, paper, wood, and found objects explores topics such as motherhood, memories, identity, and faith. She also uses photography and video to explore these themes and was selected as a 2019 Facing Change: Documenting Detroit Fellow. Rock lives in Detroit with her husband and five children.
I am an abstract and figurative painter, object-maker, and documentarist exploring themes of Motherhood, Memories, Identity, and Faith. I am interested in how these themes intersect with broader concepts such time and place. I am not locked-into one type of style, technique, or genre; instead, I foster a dialogue between the concept, process, and execution. I desire to make moving pieces layered with meaning; art that is ambitious, technical, and experimental; art that is bold, detailed, and unpredictable. I explore Motherhood, from a biological, aesthetic, and spiritual perspective - often reflecting on my own journey as a mother of five children; Identity, wrestling with personal and societal ideas about race and gender; Memory, contemplating the passage of time and its impact on human life, objects, spaces, and the natural world; and my Faith, seeing the act of art-making and intimacy of prayer as a medium that helps me understand the world around me.
I am drawn to the human condition and all that it encompasses. I often employ the power of the figurative form – whether representational or abstract – to reclaim a vision of people whose bodies or histories I am compelled to account for, value, and memorialize. These representations are deeply connected to my relationship with the people and landscape of Detroit where I have resided for 22 years.
Video by Nathan Clark, Christianity Today, 2012
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