Installation view, UNTITLED Miami 2018
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce our participation in our sixth edition of UNTITLED Miami Beach 2018 with a multi-national and cross-generational group presentation featuring Jim Adams, Lex Brown, Caitlin Cherry, June Edmonds, Jérôme Havre, Edra Soto, and Peter Williams.
Visitors will enter Booth A25 though a new, monumental site-specific architectural intervention by Edra Soto inspired by her research into the rejas, decorative wrought-iron screens found throughout Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, which became a ubiquitous feature of homes and commercial buildings during the mid-20th century and are a legacy of the region’s post-colonial culture. The magnificent structure spans the entire façade of the booth and injects an element of "otherness" into the art fair’s white box environment -- at once familiar, welcoming and nostalgic, and which for some people will resonate with deeply personal memories and significance. Inside, a diverse selection of paintings, sculptures, and video present an array of artistic strategies that explore the ever-expanding reach and influence of the African and Caribbean diaspora on contemporary art and society. The works address cultural, social, and political issues, offering personal responses filled with poignancy, confidence, and resilience through which these artists share their own stories, reclaim appropriated culture, and, in the process, forge a path through empathy and resistance.
Black Canadian artist Jim Adams was born in Philadelphia in 1942 and has lived and worked in British Columbia since 1969. His first retrospective, The Irretrievable Moment, was held in 2017 at the Surrey Art Gallery and The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford, BC. Though Adams has not explicitly dedicated himself to unpacking the colonial elements of the African diaspora, many of his works provide oblique perspectives on the politics of racial representation in Canada today. In this exchange, he artfully uses portraiture and the landscape to prompt the viewer to consider their own social roles in wider histories—those that have passed, and those that are still in the process of being created.
Bronx-based Lex Brown is an artist, writer, and performer whose work creates interplay between personal and emotional experience in relation to large-scale systems of social and economic organization. In the process of dismantling her own internalized racism and sexism, Brown builds new characters, worlds, and linguistic relationships, often fluctuating between humor and urgent seriousness. Lip Gloss Alurt (2017) is an account of a 27-year-old woman who has lost her mouth after staring too long at herself in her smart phone. Part social media filtered avatar, part digital device assistant, part infomercial sales representative, Brown’s protagonist offers a dystopic vision of fractured subjectivity.
Brooklyn-based Caitlin Cherry combines painting, sculpture, and installation with references to history, popular culture, and political current events. Her recent paintings explore the solarization and inversion effects created by tilted or malfunctioning Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitor technology. Extrapolating this image and color distortion even further through her painting process, Cherry’s futuristic aesthetic becomes an apparatus to discuss the exploitation, overexposure, and colonization of black female bodies that persist in popular culture, music, and pornography.
A native Angelino, painter June Edmonds recent series of abstractions explore how color, repetition, movement, and balance can serve as conduits to spiritual contemplation and interpersonal connection. Exploring the psychological construct of skin color or tone through pattern and abstraction has proven to be a revealing gesture. Color associations are often connected to culturally symbolic imagery that references power and systemic disenfranchisement. Edmonds’s new flag paintings represent the alignment of multiple identities including race, nationality, gender, and political leanings. The flags have associations with different periods in American history and explore its relationship and significance to Black Americans. Lesser-known historic Black Americans also serve as inspiration for Edmonds as she investigates the complexity of their stories through the creation of new flags.
Toronto-based, Paris-born Martiniquan Jérôme Havre is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice concentrates on issues of identity, communities and territories, and the investigation of the political and sociological processes of contemporary life as they relate to nationalism. He uses myriad tools and methods to make tangible the conditions of identity within situations of social transformation. Havre’s beasts confront the world head-on. Full of black humor in their multi-coloured patches, they recall Jim Henson’s famous Muppets in their form and texture as an essential symbol of a certain childhood, but also in their hybridity. The conflict they lay bare regards the marginalization of differences, the exclusion by nature, or to put it in simply: ostracism. The themes of exclusion are linked in Havre’s work to slavery, racism and the hegemony of whites over blacks.
Chicago-based, Puerto Rican born Edra Soto is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and curator who creates symbolic gestures of colonization and subjugation, prompting viewers to reconsider post-colonial visual culture. She often creates frameworks for her projects by creating temporary structures and architectural “grafts” inspired by rejas—patterned wrought ironwork that are ubiquitous vernacular elements in homes and buildings in her native Puerto Rico. In addition, we will present a sculptural work from her ongoing project OPEN 24 HOURS that gathers collections of found glass liquor bottles from her neighborhood of East Garfield Park in Chicago in order to examine the complicated social and cultural life of underserved communities.
A 2018 inductee into the National Academy of Design, Delaware-based artist and educator Peter Williams makes paintings that have been described as "hallucinogenic, acerbic, pained, beautiful, confessional, obsessive, critical, jarring, wild, weird, and profoundly human—born from his personal experiences of race, appetite, and physical vulnerability." Williams’s recent paintings weave together historical events, allegorical myths, creation stories, current events, and personal experiences in order to address a range of subjects.