Wesley Clark’s show “The Prophet’s Library” is deeply engrained with symbolism, metaphor, and his experience as an African American male in this country. He began this body of work by making a stream of consciousness list of words that came to him when he thought about his experience which culminated in “Table of Contents”. He created this list of words that now make up the top of the crossword before writing out the clues which allowed him to expand what could be a clue for each word. The words are also grouped together in order to create links and imagery that can be tracked throughout the rest of the show. He invites our imaginations to move piece to piece stitching together the narrative of this prophet. With the series of books that inspired the show title he presents the audience with four cases designed to hold books yet to be written. The exterior of each of these books has been carved, painted, and stained to be representative of the made up titles on the front. What is exciting about these titles, and subsequently these carvings, is that these can be seen as revisions of the current history or simply retellings of those narratives from perhaps a more accurate perspective. This is especially true with “Master Sowers” as it is analyzing the creation of civilization. One side contains an image of Lake Tana which is the source of the Nile river in Egypt which many can argue was the seedbed for civilization and technology as we know it. While the other side depicts two hands holding a mound of dirt with fists erupting from that dirt surrounded by a few symbols including an arrow and some stars. The idea behind this is that once you can defend yourself you can start to think about stars, science, etc. Another piece that spurs our imaginations is the “My Beautiful Black Unicorn(s)”. Which once agains plays with our imagination as well as historical references. Each horn is engraved with the name of slave revolt leaders including: Nat Turner, Denmark Vessey, and Toussaint L’Overture. In theory, these people are unicorns in that they should never have existed in the world in the role of revolutionist. Many people believe that the unicorn was the East Indian Rhino but through word of mouth that narrative was skewed leaving us with the mysterious unicorn we know today. This degradation of the truth can also be tracked onto the experience of the African American as they are often portrayed in the media in a negative light. Each piece in this show has layers and layers of meaning that require the viewer to approach the work with a willingness to spend time with the work. Time spent looking at this show is extremely rewarding as there are so many hidden gems of powerful text, image, or symbol that are lost with a superficial viewing. Wesley has created a show and a body of work that is imaginative, powerful, and truly meaningful within the social and political climate of today.
Tag: Tinney Contemporary art crawl
Artists, critics, curators, gallerists, auctioneers, and collectors analyze contemporary art to bring forth its relevance and expose its fundamental nature, such as the medium or symbolism. On the other hand, the general public’s reaction to contemporary art provides a socially conscious response that incorporates contemporaneity with time, place, and ethics. Both viewers engage, but which is the “right” way to perceive contemporary art?
Patricia Bellan- Gillen’s “Disorderly Notions,” on display now here at Tinney Contemporary, employs the art of perception itself. The artist relies on all viewers to narrate her works, pulling from their own anecdotal memories. I overheard many art crawlers at the July Art Crawl ask, “what does this mean?” or “why does she use this specific motif?” The analytical essay spelling out the symbolic truths and answering such fundamental questions does not exist in this case.
“Somewhere in the brain” begins the artist’s exhibition write-up, enhancing the elusive and ambiguous scenes. The scale of Patricia Bellan- Gillen’s work demands attention and her use of mixed media compliment the multi-layered function of her work.
I recently read, “Any art that relies on an essay to explain it is not art,” holding true to Patricia’s theory of thriving on the inexplicable, the intuitive, and the enigmatic. The artist calls welcomes such provocation and puzzlement, placing trust in the viewer to simply react. Therefore, it is fitting that “Disorderly Notions” will remain on display for the August Art Crawl, inviting all contemporaries to not ask, but tell.
With Collector’s Art Night and the First Saturday Art Crawl just around the corner, we thought we’d brush up on our art gallery etiquette. From critical conduct for artists, to a what-to-wear list, here’s our roundup of some art gallery pearls of wisdom. We hope to see you out and about on 5th Avenue of the Arts this weekend. Don’t forget to stop by Tinney Contemporary to see Peri Schwartz’s exhibition: The Architect Within.
1) Eat dinner first, says eHow. (We disagree. Who doesn’t want to enjoy a little wine and cheese?)
2) Daniel Grant encourages you to be polite, as an artist.
3) Avoid loud conversations. (Where’s the fun in an art crawl without those few boisterous individuals?)
4) No kids allowed? The New Yorker advises against strollers (Fair.)
We say…come early, be loud (ish), and stay late! See you Saturday.
For a full schedule of this weekend’s events, click here.