States Of Being

Diedrick Brackens

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Diedrick Brackens (b. 1989, Mexia, TX; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) is best known for his woven tapestries that explore allegory and narrative through the artist’s autobiography, broader themes of African American and queer identity, as well as American history. Brackens employs techniques from West African weaving, quilting from the American South and European tapestry-making to create both abstract and figurative works. Often depicting moments of male tenderness, Brackens culls from African and African American literature, poetry and folklore as source. Beginning his process through the hand-dying of cotton, a material he deliberately uses in acknowledgement of its brutal history, Brackens’ oeuvre presents rich, nuanced visions of African American life and identity, while also alluding to the complicated histories of labor and migration. Brackens utilizes both commercial dyes and atypical pigments such as wine, tea and bleach to create his vibrant, intricately-woven tapestries that investigate historical gaps, interlacing the present with his singular magical realist worldview.

One of Brackens’ recent bodies of work considers the Center for Disease Control’s shocking projections of HIV diagnosis rates for black and Latino gay men. While the AIDS epidemic is frequently discussed as a thing of the past, Brackens considers the present moment as the lens through which we examine history–what we have learned, and what, or who, has been overlooked. Brackens’ scenes intentionally lack any sort of moralizing tone, allowing his subjects the freedom of living life on their terms. Jack Shainman Gallery is proud to represent Brackens in collaboration with Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA / Seoul, KR.


diedrick brackens: blood compass
20th Street, 46 Lafayette Street, Apr 25 – Jun 01, 2024
The School, Jun 05 – Oct 30, 2021
diedrick brackens: rhyming positions
20th Street, Jul 15 – Aug 20, 2021