Painter and mixed media artist, Peter Williams unpacks troubling histories of white supremacy and systemic oppression to create revelatory collective narratives about the persistence of violence against Black bodies. The devastating trend of unwarranted killings of Black boys and men at the hands of police officers, most of whom escaped federal conviction, catalyzed a departure from Williams’s lighter, more spiritual and reverent figurative abstract-portraiture towards more traumatic motifs. His latest body of work, With So Little To Be Sure Of, interrogates the systems and industries that perpetuate and uphold operational practices, legislation, and ideologies that normalize the dehumanization, subjugation, disenfranchisement and belittlement of African Americans.Read More
Welcome to Robert Davis’s memory. We’re here in between the years of 1975 and 1978 when the artist was between the ages of five and eight years old. He was living in Virginia. He was riding in a truck with his dad and grandfather and a bunch of construction materials. He was obsessed with Planet of the Apes. He was scared of swimming because he saw Jaws. He was hiding inside a futuristic round chair at his aunt’s friend’s house. He was considering a naked woman’s body in a Playboy he stole from his cousin. He was watching Good Times on the shag carpet.Read More
Anne Neely’s art provides ways of exploring ideas and transmitting knowledge. Her prior series have treated mortality (in Leaving: A Meditation on Death, 1998) and the effects of pollution on the world around us (in “Water Stories,” 2014). Although meaning is present in her most recent series, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” it is not totally fixed; this body of paintings does not deal quite so explicitly with worldly issues.Read More
When Nancy Floyd started the photographic series Weathering Time in 1982, no one could have conceived how smartphones would change our lives. Today, taking selfies has become a daily habit for many. But as recently as 1982, people were still using Polaroid cameras for instant photographs or buying film and developing their pictures at Fotomat. It wasn’t typical of people to document their every move with photographs. But after Floyd received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts photography, she developed the idea of photographing herself every day to document the aging of her body over time.Read More
This essay was produced in conjunction with the exhibition Wendy Red Star: Um-basax-bilua “Where They Make The Noise," curated by Michelle Grabner, on view at CUE Art Foundation, June 1–July 13, 2017.
In 1851, Chief Sits in the Middle of the Land negotiated with the United States to define the territory of the Apsáalooke (Crow). He stated his aspirations for the future of his people, proclaiming: “Where my four base teepee poles touch the ground, will be my land.” As an undergraduate at Montana State University located in Bozeman, Wendy Red Star’s research found that this treaty had included Bozeman, and by extension all the land held by the university. In response to this history Red Star erected a traveling installation of lodge pole teepees across the campus, disrupting common walking paths and briefly occupying the football field. It was the beginning of a practice that utilizes brash humor, scholarly research, and personal narratives to hold space in a postcolonial world, often reworking clichéd imagery of Native Americans to satirical effect.Read More
This essay was written in conjunction with the exhibition Shawn Thornton: Pareidolia, curated by Tom Burckhardt, on view at CUE Art Foundation, April 13–May 24, 2017.
Witch Doctors at the Eye of the Solar Epoch (2008-2010) is a long, landscape-oriented oil painting on panel whose dimensions and compositional structure resemble a folded-out paper map. In urgent hues, it presents a god’s-eye view of a watery city or an entire cosmos, punctuated with networks of mystical and mathematical symbols. Curving sections of pale blue, white, and brown might be water and roadways. Yet Thornton also represents some subjects conventionally, head-on, as in his depiction of a simple, brown sailboat on blue water, which is constructed from the same blocks of color that make the map. The notations include tiny rainbows and Coptic crosses; infinity signs and directional arrows; skulls connected to spinal columns, whose geometric vertebrae look like railway tracks, rendered in brown and orange; and cartouches of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing—which angels supposedly fed on parchment to spiritual seekers, Thornton said. Witch Doctors comprises multiple systems coming together and falling apart, held tentatively by invisible bonds. The modestly sized painting is worked with tens of layers of tiny, almost invisible brushstrokes. While seemingly flat at first glance, and in reproduction, the painting is actually constructed of tiny low reliefs—the slow, small brushstrokes and the shapes’ carefully-delineated borders draw the viewer’s attention to minute differences between sections.Read More