Oct 112021
 

Happy Indigenous People’s Day! The work above, Because You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House, is by Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson. The sculpture was commissioned for Socrates Sculpture Park in New York, but is currently located at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

The deCordova website gives the following information about Gibson and the work-

Jeffrey Gibson weaves together his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage and queer identity into vibrantly patterned painting, sculpture, video, performance, and installation. Drawing on Indigenous process and materials and queer camp aesthetics, his artistry aims to transcend binary thinking and corrects nostalgic views of indigeneity. Merging styles and historical references, Gibson states, “I have continued to think about my practice as encompassing the past and present while considering the future.” Gibson often integrates phrases and words into his artwork, with language drawn from pop songs to activist slogans, to offer open-ended declarations of love, community, and liberation.

Standing over 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall at the entrance to deCordova’s Sculpture Park, Gibson’s Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House commands attention to its stepped form and psychedelic facade. Originally commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, this installation expands Gibson’s signature artistry and collaborative process to a monumental scale. He took inspiration from North American Indigenous history, as well as queer nightlife to create this monument advocating for Indigenous space and culture. The tri-layered form references the earthen forms of the ancient Mississippian city of Cahokia which flourished in the seventh through the fourteenth centuries before European contact.

The title, Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House, comes from the song “Can You Feel It” by Mr. Fingers (Larry Heard). Gibson evokes 80s and 90s-era house music and night clubs as they provided welcoming spaces for queer communities and people of color. Mr. Finger’s lyrics embrace intimacy, generosity, acceptance, and community. This installation echoes this broad communal ethos as Gibson invited fellow Indigenous artists–Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), Luzene Hill (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), and Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota)–to co-create the wheat-pasted posters covering the façade of the installation and stage performances on and around the ziggurat.

Oct 052021
 

Kim Anderson, “Alone Together”, 2021

Stereoscope for viewing the above painting

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.

The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art. The museum has a video playlist on YouTube that includes all of the artists in the exhibition discussing their work. The links below are to the artists’ websites or those videos.

Selina Román “XS” 2019

For Selina Román’s XS series, she created abstract self portraits that examine standards of beauty in relation to expectations of weight and body. The title XS references an extra small size and alludes to the word excess.

This exhibition closes 10/10/21.

 

Sep 202021
 

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018 (detail)

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018 (detail)

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018 (detail)

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.

The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at the The Ringling in Sarasota. I’ve included links for these artists as well as those not pictured.

Heather Rosenbach, “American Dream Byproduct”, 2018

Heather Rosenbach, “Class Warfare Shooting Star”, 2019

Eric Ondina, “Miss 911”, 2018

Eric Ondina, “Miss 911”, 2018 (detail)

Eric Ondina, “Palms”, 2020

Eric Ondina, “Keep the Change”, 2020

Ya Levy La’ford “American/Rōōts”, 2021

This exhibition closes 9/26/21.

 

Aug 142021
 

Casey McDonough “the immeasurability of this cosmological collider”, 2021

Casey McDonough “the immeasurability of this cosmological collider”, 2021 (detail)

Casey McDonough “the immeasurability of this cosmological collider”, 2021 (another view)

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.

The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum. I’ve included links for these artists as well as those not pictured.

Cynthia Mason, “Limp Grid with Arm”, 2021

Cynthia Mason, “Limp Pricks and Plants in Rising Water” 2021

Akiko Kotani, “Red Falls”, 2021

Akiko Kotani, “Red Falls”, 2021 (detail)

This exhibition closes 9/1/21.

 

Aug 132021
 

Dolores Coe “Perimeter”, 2019

Dolores Coe, “Borderland”, 2020

Dolores Coe, “Borderland”, 2020 (detail)

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.

The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. I’ve included links for these artists as well as those not pictured.

Gabriel Ramos, “Mi Isla”, 2021

Gabriel Ramos, “Mi Isla”, 2021 (detail)

Savannah Magnolia, “Chemical Inhalation”, 2019

Savannah Magnolia “In Big Pharma We Trust”, 2019

Savannah Magnolia “In Big Pharma We Trust”, 2019 (detail)

Savannah Magnolia “In Big Pharma We Trust”, 2019 (detail)

Keith Crowley, “Rain Season”, 2019

Keith Crowley, “Nocturne”, 2020

Bassmi Ibrahim, “Awareness 41”

Bassmi Ibrahim, “Isness 158”

Bassmi Ibrahim, “Isness 158” (detail)

The exhibition at this location closes 8/22/21.

Aug 112021
 

Rapunzel, 2021

Fruity, 2021

Fee-fi-fo-fum, 2021

Good Hair, 2021

Lisson Gallery in New York is currently showing Hugh Hayden: Huey. This new body of work by Hayden “examines the American experience via agency, appearance, athletics and religion” and “interweaves symbols of the institutions that play key roles in an American upbringing with equally ever-present fairy tales to produce a new series of sculptures in wicker, vine, and ebony.”

More from the press release-

Hugh Hayden has previously examined the concept of the American Dream as well as the role historical foodways and dining traditions have played in shaping American identity. For Huey, the Texas-born artist chronicles and remixes his upbringing in the American South. Church, sport, school and hair are highlighted as Hayden probes the ingrained nature of cultural expectations. The exhibition is split into a trinity of rooms: a barber shop cum sanctuary, a basketball chapel and an ebony crypt, all of which harbor Hayden’s meticulously sculpted, sawed, sanded and woven objects.

The sanctuary features “Good Hair,” a new body of bristled wooden works that explore expectations of appearance and refinement in obligatory adolescent participation in athletics, education and religion. For Hayden the bristles render a subject simultaneously desirable yet uncomfortable, creating order via an abrasive action that, like the American Dream, is challenging and difficult to inhabit.

In the second chapel-like space hang woven basketball hoops out of hair, rattan and vine. The works are a childhood reimagination of the iconic peacock chairs the artist grew up with as well as an homage to the 1967 portrait of Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton seated in one. The braided and woven works conflate tedious domestic handwork with hypermasculine athletics to materialize a queerness at odds with the fairy tale-like aspirations and reservations of becoming a professional athlete.

The final room of the exhibition is a meditation on agency, blackness and invisibility. Works sculpted from Gabon and Texas ebonies are presented in a daylight-lit, all-black room shifting in and out of visibility. Sculptures that reference the body, both moving fast as well as relaxing, offer an opportunity to reflect on the many hues of blackness.

This exhibition closes 8/13/21.

Aug 102021
 

summer syllables, 2021

soft, dark, demigod, 2021

marshling, 2021

Currently at Jack Shainman Gallery is Diedrick Brackens: Rhyming Positions, the artist’s second exhibition with the gallery. Brackens’ weavings use nature as symbolism to tell stories about the current world.

From the press release-

In several tableaux situated in nature, Brackens plays with the idea of creating home in a wild space, honoring the outdoors as a place in which queerness lives. This is a nod to the history of queer and femme folks who have gathered in nature, creating safe spaces for ritual and communion. This notion of commune is present in summer syllables, in which two figures stretch in lyrical movement, seemingly fashioning loops out of their own bodies, as if flowing one into the other within a vast, yellow landscape. In soft, dark, demigod, a figure bends over, caught within a thicket of roses in full bloom. This moment is indicative of Brackens’ own observation of the outside world over the course of the past year, as he has relished in these quiet moments of continued life as flowers grow. The presence of roses hint at the sensuality and eroticism that are apparent throughout this body of work and in Brackens’ practice more broadly.

In marshling a lone figure stands poised in the water, akimbo, surrounded by catfish and flora of the swamp. Catfish are a recurring motif in Brackens’ work, an emblem of the American South, embodying the soul and ancestral spirits. Continuing his practice of pulling from traditional folklore, two rabbits rest on chairs in each their own, almost as if they have been conjured up by the figure seated in their midst. Rabbits, creatures that live both above and below the earth, have shown up throughout African and African-American tales and literature as messengers and trickster figures. To Brackens, the animals in these works feel less literal and more like other humans or spirits  in communion with the figures, the trio seated together almost as if awaiting a dance.

This exhibition closes 8/20/21.

Jul 282021
 

Texas Louise, 1971

Where is Lucienne?, 1971

 

Where is Lucienne? (detail), 1971

Where is Lucienne? (detail), 1971

Frank Bowling’s incredible paintings are currently on view at two of Hauser & Wirth’s locations, London and NYC, reflecting the artist’s time living in both cities. The paintings above are from the New York location.

From the press release-

The exhibition charts Bowling’s life and work between the UK and the United States. Born in Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1934, Bowling arrived in London in 1953, graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1962. He later divided his time between the art scenes in London and New York, maintaining studios in both cities. London is the city where Bowling trained as a painter and achieved early acclaim. New York is the city that drew him to itself at the height of the Civil Rights movement, where he became involved in discussions of Black Art – New York was a place of fresh energy and ideas for an artist in search of new ways to make paintings.

Bowling’s transatlantic orientation reveals itself in a shift from his early engagement with expressive figuration and pop art, to an immersion in a uniquely poetic abstraction that continues to evolve even today. Visible in his work are the legacies of both the English landscape tradition and American abstract expressionism. Developing in and between two cities over the course of decades, Bowling’s exploration of light, colour, and geometry can be understood as profoundly influenced by the two great rivers of his life: he has maintained studios close to The Thames in London and the East River in New York, absorbing the brilliance of the rivers’ light into his vision. Bowling would often begin a work in one city and finish it in the other, merging the atmospheres of both. In his own words, ‘I would just roll the lot up and move. And I knew that when I got to the other end, I could roll them out again and continue to work.’

Bowling’s restless innovation on the painted plane endures in his latest works. He continues to break ground through the use of thick impasto textures, acrylic gels, collage, stitched canvas, and metallic and pearlescent pigments. The complexities of his upbringing in Guyana and his constant journeying between London and New York have only served to activate the richness of the different influences of each location. His paintings are a celebration of life lived in varying lights and colours.

Jul 142021
 

For Marlene McCarty’s current exhibition Into The Weeds: Sex & Death at Sikkema Jenkins, she has combined her large scale drawings with an indoor and outdoor garden.

From the press release-

Using everyday materials such as graphite and ballpoint pen, McCarty’s work often focuses on representations of the female body, femininity, and its position within familial and biological systems. Her subjects are depicted engaging in unorthodox or transgressive social formations, breaking down the traditional, accepted interactions among humans and other species, as well as between humans and nature. For Into the Weeds, McCarty turns to plants, and their complex ecocultural role within society to explore issues of reproductive health, physical autonomy, public space, and the symbiosis of growth and decay.

Throughout history, certain plants and weeds have been foraged and cultivated for a wide range of purposes, both curative and toxic. The alkaloids of the deadly nightshade, for example, have also been used to treat fevers and inflammation, while mugwort has been used to regulate menstruation and induce abortion. Seedlings have been cultivated and installed alongside McCarty’s densely drawn compositions of plants, weeds, body parts, clothing, and abstract geometric forms. Meticulously shaded limbs and flowers interlace one another, mirroring each other’s shape with the curl of a finger or the droop of a petal. This interplay of human body and plant is disrupted by various symbols alluding to a hegemony of white western culture: a Civil War ball gown, cowboy hat, and fragments of Modernist architecture, including the honeycomb-esque Vessel at Hudson Yards. Within these chimerical gardens lies a contentious ecosystem, constantly negotiating the power dynamics across gender, race, health, and history.

This exhibition is on view until 7/30/21.

Dec 052020
 

Not My Burden, 2019

From a Tropical Space, 2019

From a Tropical Space (detail)

Analogous Colors, 2020

The Aftermath, 2020

For Titus Kaphar’s first exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in NYC, From A Tropical Space, he has created moving scenes of loss, with children cut out of the paintings. While the cutouts and vivid colors are the first things that get noticed, on a longer look you can see that the women in these paintings are not just missing children, but often pieces of their own bodies are affected. Arms, a hand fading away or turning blue, a leg with only one sock and shoe- these women are losing more than what has been cut away from them, they are losing parts of themselves.

From the press release-

A painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and installation artist, Kaphar reexamines American history by deconstructing existing representations and styles through his own formal innovations. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as “past” in order to understand its continuing impact on the present. Using materials including tar, glass, and rusted nails—together with highly refined oil painting—and employing techniques such as cutting, shredding, stitching, binding, and erasing, he reworks canonical art historical codes and conventions. And by uncovering the conceptual and narrative underpinnings of certain source images, he explores the manipulation of cultural and personal identity as a central thematic concern while inventing new narratives.

While much of Kaphar’s work begins with an exhaustive study of pre-twentieth-century master painting techniques, From a Tropical Space sees him wield these various methods to create an emotionally saturated visual landscape that is entirely contemporary. Just as artists, through time, have translated the fraught and mercurial sociopolitical contexts in which they operate into new and often radical aesthetic modes, so do the pervasive social and cultural anxieties of the world in which we find ourselves resonate throughout Kaphar’s new work.

In From a Tropical Space, Kaphar presents a haunting narrative of Black motherhood wherein collective fear and trauma crescendo in the disappearance of children, literalized through the physical excision of their images from the canvases themselves. The absence of each juvenile figure—whether seated in a stroller or held in a woman’s arms—reveals only the blank gallery wall beneath. The intense coloration of the suburban environments in which the figures are set only heightens a pervasive tension—these are images for uncertain times. Included in the exhibition is Analogous Colors (2020). Demonstrating further the broader resonance of Kaphar’s recent work, the painting was featured on the cover of the June 15 issue of Time magazine, which included a report on the protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police.

This exhibition closes 12/19/20.