Marianne Boesky Gallery announces an exhibition curated by artist Sanford Biggers, featuring the work of artists Allison Janae Hamilton and ektor garcia—both of whom have long-standing relationships with Biggers.
Hamilton and garcia are recognized for their complex, narrative-infused tactile sculptures and installation pieces. This exhibition will explore the ways in which both artists use materials to evoke history and define new mythologies—aspects of this approach are also present in Biggers’ own practice. Titled Tricknology, the exhibition takes its name from a line in a song by the group Brand Nubian that directly calls out the importance embracing one’s self, soul, and narrative as one. The exhibition celebrates this concept and practice, while critically viewing the dominant narratives that underlie our knowledge of art, culture, and history. Tricknology will be on view at Marianne Boesky Gallery’s location in Aspen, Colorado, from July 26 through September 9. As part of the exhibition, both Hamilton and garcia will present new work.
“In their seminal song Wake Up, the hip hop group Brand Nubian calls out the importance of reclaiming history and self-knowledge in order to see through the tricknology employed by those in power,” said Sanford Biggers. “The works that Allison and ektor make are enigmatic, layered, and nimble in their respective uses of personal and cultural history as well as materials. They both offer visionary insight and tools for us to construct new narratives, and I look forward to collaborating with them on this exhibition.”
Hamilton’s connections to America’s Southern and rural landscapes are at the center of her practice and the narratives she weaves within her work. Her visually-rich installations, sculptures, and video pieces incorporate and layer ideas and themes from across a wide range of subjects, including contemporary African-American culture, folklore, the traditions of Southern farm life, and Baptist hymns. Dynamic and complex in the way it builds meaning, Hamilton’s work inspires and incites the viewer to take action. Floridawater II, a recent photographic work, for example, captures a body submerged in a dense and fertile body of water. Through the subject’s state of suspended animation, Hamilton references the traditions of baptism or immersion by water as well as deities of both birth and water, such as Yemoja or Venus.
At the same time, Floridawater II alludes to the relationships between labor and southern coastal water- ways, as the image was captured within a channel of interconnected rivers at the headsprings of the “Slave Canal” in Hamilton’s home region of North Florida. In this way, Hamilton’s work also addresses salient issues affecting contemporary life, such as the impact of land loss, environmental justice, and climate change. This is also seen in her series Yard Signs, which is comprised of wood panels marked with text and symbols that reference nature’s power to carry and contain collective narratives and histories, while also being susceptible to destruction. Her works are power objects that call to the viewer, disrupting and repositioning our understanding of many traditional “American” narratives and encouraging a reassessment of often unchallenged and deeply rooted histories, notions, and preconceptions.
garcia’s work speaks to the viewer through its unfixed state and ability to engage with and react to its environment. Many of his objects feature chains or links, creating connections between different elements while also alluding to notions of breakage and reformation along new lines. poor celana, which is included in the upcoming presentation, is comprised of a glazed porcelain vessel that is weighed down by chains. While it seems immobile, it also suggests an opportunity for combining with another. Like Hamilton, garcia’s practice is focused on inciting the viewer to action. To this end, he uses a range of materials and processes—from crochet, weaving and fiber-work, to terra cotta, stoneware, and porcelain, as well as myriad found objects—to create complex assemblages and multi-layered works. In using these varied materials, garcia produces work that asks critical questions about our collective responsibil- ity in creating and upholding societal structures and the narratives they are built upon. In bola de, a brightly colored spherical vessel that includes layers, cuts, and accretions to its ceramics body, garcia references age and history, alluding to an unknown past and people. garcia also uses his own history and cultural traditions in his practice, namely in his faithful use of crochet techniques from Tabasco in Zacetcas, Mexico.