The New Social Environment#746

My Way: A Gathering

Featuring Rachel Eulena Williams, Tau Lewis, Marlene Bennett Jones, Essie Bendolph Pettway, and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, with Lyn Patterson


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artists Rachel Eulena Williams, Tau Lewis, Marlene Bennett Jones, and Essie Bendolph Pettway joins Rail Editor-at-Large Thyrza Nichols Goodeve for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Lyn Patterson.

In this talk

Visit My Way: A Gathering, on view at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery through February 18, 2023 →

Marlene Bennett Jones

A photo of Marlene Bennett Jones
Marlene Bennett Jones (b.1947) is the daughter of Agatha P. Bennett and grand-daughter of Delia Bennett. Like most young girls growing up in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, Marlene learned to pieces and quilt from her mother and other female relatives in the community. After many years working in the electronics industry for LockheedMartin and Raytheon as an electronic technician, Marlene returned to making and quilting when her mother became ill in the early 2000’s. When both parents passed, Marlene used all of their clothes to make over 20 heirlooms quilts for her siblings and family members. Marlene is one the oldest Gee’s Bend quilters to continue piecing and and quilting quilts. Her quilts has been featured in museums, art galleries, and fashion runways both in the U.S. and Europe.

Tau Lewis

Photo of Tau Lewis
Tau Lewis (b. 1993, Toronto Canada) was most recently on exhibition at The 59th Venice Biennale and at 52 Walker, New York, NY. She has exhibited in several museums and institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; MoMA PS1, New York, NY; New Museum, New York, NY; Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, UK; College Art Galleries, Saskatoon, SK; and elsewhere. Lewis’s work has been acquired to the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library Collection, New York, NY; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Miami, FL; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec; among others. Lewis currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Essie Bendolph Pettway

Photo of Essie Bendolph Pettway
Essie Bendolph Pettway (born 1956), the only daughter of Mary Lee Bendolph, began quilting at the age of eight. Although trained by her mother, Essie developed a distinctive style and was producing accomplished quilts while still in her teens. She has worked for many years making uniforms for the armed forces. Her highly practiced sewing skills enable her to tackle complex quilt patterns and introduce subtle optical effects into them. Over the years, she also has created a number of quilts that incorporate camouflage patterns from her day job. Essie is among the last women in Gee’s Bend to continue practicing her craft.

Rachel Eulena Williams

Photo of Rachel Eulena Williams
Photo by Nicholas Calcott
Rachel Eulena Williams has developed a unique visual language operating on the threshold of painting and sculpture. A powerful duality runs throughout Williams’ practice. It can be seen in the use of conventional materials to create works that both challenge and transcend genres; in the interplay between two and three dimensions; in the contradiction between frugality and opulence (humble materials versus luminous colour); and the tension between optimism and sorrow. Williams’ working methods also relate to practices centered around community and sustainability, Rachel Eulena Williams (b. 1991, Miami, Florida, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BFA from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, also in New York.

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
Thyrza Nichols Goodeve is a writer, editor, and educator who lives in Brooklyn Heights. She was Senior Art Editor at the Rail from 2017 to 2019 and is currently an Editor-at-Large.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Lyn Patterson reading.

Lyn Patterson

Photo of Lyn Patterson
Lyn Patterson is a storyteller and book art MFA student, originally from Seattle, Washington. She is a deeply invigorated poet who’s specifically inspired to write about Black diaspora and those who have been marginalized in our society, as a means of empowering future generations with their stories. Her work has been published in Popshot Magazine and Allegory Ridge’s poetry anthology. Her live poetry has been featured at readings for the Museum of African Diaspora, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, and with Poets & Writers.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.