"Being from the Caribbean, I often think of the beach: the smell of the blue salt water, hot sun, and palm trees; enjoying quiet moments on the sand, beach front properties, and contemplating what it might be like to own such a space. Untitled is rendered from the perspective of looking out onto the ocean. We see individuals enjoying the liberties of the beach, occupying space.
We live in an overly complicated contemporary environment and a digitally constructed world. Through the lens of my picotage technique, the image is a nod to the matrix in which we live, creating a distance between the viewer and the freedom experienced in the image. While this sphere may seem slightly out of reach for the viewer, the work invites them to participate in this world where Black people can freely enjoy their lives. By collaging several images over one another, I aim to stop the passerby and to force a deep contemplation of this view."
-Paul Anthony Smith
Vibha Galhotra utilizes abstract forms to address the radically shifting topography of India under the impact of globalization and growth. She sees herself as being part of the global restructuring of culture, society and geography. Responding to the rapid environmental changes and rezoning of land, Galhotra embodies the dense urbanization and jungles of steel and concrete through unlikely materials such as ghungroo beads to draw attention to the increasing human impact on nature. The so-called Veils, or mind maps, present abstract visual poems that refer to a kind of new mapping for the world, as well as to the doomsday scenario of global warming.
Yoan Capote’s depictions of the sea lure in viewers by playing on the romanticized western understanding of these bodies of water. While from afar these works are beautiful and inviting, closer inspection of the surface often tell a more complex narrative.
Whether comprised of handwrought fishhooks or scarred cutting boards treated as etchings, the materials of his work offer an ominous warning that danger is entangled in the seascape.
In Cuba, Capote says “ the sea is a symbol for hope, but it’s also a symbol for a trap, for tragedy.”
Capote, who was born in 1977, says the show [sic] represents the psychological and emotional reality of his countrymen and women, for whom the sea is a kind of "iron curtain" no less formidable than the Berlin Wall. "In Cuba, we understand the sea as a kind of metal barrier," he says. "Also the sand is like a trap, where a lot of people die trying to escape." The fishhook is a trap too, he adds, and "can also be understood as an allegory for difficulty and all the people who die trying to escape from Cuba and get hooked, get caught."
-Forbes, February 2017
Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish is a photographic archive documenting contemporary and historical homicide sites in New Orleans, the homicide capital of the United States. The result is an exploration of the dizzyingly empty space at the core of violence. Deborah Luster approaches this invisible, excised population obliquely, with haunting, unpopulated photographs that seem to exist outside of time, simultaneously distant and chillingly close. The series ultimately expands into a mapping of a much beloved and beleaguered city. By approaching cityscapes through the disorienting context of homicide, the work disturbs the deep crust of stereotypical visual interpretations of New Orleans, a city that has been photographed repeatedly but still remains elusive. Luster’s archive documents the loss of the physical city as its unique materiality slowly crumbles, exposing the pervasive pulse of both hope and corruption that exists in the city’s still and patient spaces.
“Last summer, I was invited by Carol LeWitt to attend her residency at the family home she shared with husband, Sol LeWitt and their children in Praiano, Italy. The LeWitt home is set on a magnificent hillside that faces the crystal blue waters off the Amalfi Coast…I was learning directly from LeWitt’s paintings. The one that had my focused attention was painted for the dining room. Over time, this painting provided me a specific understanding of color placement within Italian Renaissance painting. Dark Angel…directly relate[s] to what I have recently learned about color in its notion of focus and locality within western painting’s history.
In the wood panel paintings, I [want] to engage an interaction between abstraction and figuration, as well as address socio-cultural interplays of race, narration, and mythology through color. The two color-areas are meant to represent light as 'wings’ – i.e., as movement, speed, flight and desire. I purposely organized the color sequencing to convey the movement of light as it passes through a day. I also wanted to depict light, and subsequently shadow, as forces projected and cast onto objects and things within a given space. These sections are composed to frame a central area of wood, which I emphasize as the 'body' of the painting … I wanted to create a figure and ground relationship to convey both body and space through the optical and conceptual charge that is occurring between the color areas, and the wood grain surface.”
– Odili Donald Odita