In this post The Incluseum highlights the new work of some of Seattle’s industrious artists…
Two recent exhibits have disrupted the reliability of the first impression. The artwork prompts a second, longer, deeper look.
Right now at Gallery4Culture (until Friday) you can visit Dave Kennedy’s Amalgam and experience a body of work that playfully and concisely draws attention to this process of destabilizing first impressions/assumptions. Large format photographs appear to be still lifes of immediately recognizable food items. With a closer gaze, the precise and deliberate sculpting of different types of edible organic matter to create a cohesive whole comes into focus.
The video work in Amalgam offers Kennedy’s take on the nature of his many layered and multiracial identity. A reminder that people, as well as art, can be stereotyped, labeled and generalized about – acts that are challenged by how Kennedy chooses to represent aspects of himself within his work; how he navigates through space, time and memory.
Another recent exhibit, stereo*type* at LxWxH in Georgetown, curated by Davida Ingram, and featuring the artwork of Barbara Earl Thomas, C. Davida Ingram, Duriel E. Harris, Francine J. Harris, Krista Franklin, Natasha Marin, all women of color, discouraged in its own way any static notions about the identity of the artists. The work in stereo*type* played with the audience’s expectations of how a story can be read and told and, in doing so, conveyed multiple meanings and explored racially coded meanings. Each artist’s work drew my attention back to the way words used to generalize and essentialize can be reclaimed and re-imagined to provoke deeper reflection on the function of language in shaping perceptions of ourselves and other’s racial identities.*
Dave Kennedy’s Amalgam is on view at Gallery4Culture until Friday April 25. As you meditate on the work, here are some things to consider: how can exhibits such as Amalgam and stereo*type* be the staging grounds for the inclusion of these artists in the broader sphere of discourse surrounding the joint multiplicity and wholeness of lived experience? How can our civic and cultural institutions make space for these artistic voices and work to support and extend the artist’s role in a publicly shared dialogue? We would love to hear your ideas.
*Find out more: read a comprehensive review of stereo*type* by Amanda Manitach
Aletheia Wittman is a co-founder of the Incluseum and you can read more about her here. She is looking forward to the way the Incluseum’s upcoming online art exhibit The Power of Labeling might also contribute to the conversation carried so thoughtfully by Amalgam and stereo*type*.