Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco is pleased to present Celebrate Summer, a group exhibition of gallery artists opening Thursday, June 26 and running through August 29, 2014. Celebrate Summer features selected artists who stretch the boundaries of perception, creating a discourse on the power of attention and social awareness. Gordon Parks’ American Champion portfolio of 12 photographs focuses on the transformation of Cassius Clay into the heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Ali becoming Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Celebrate Summer will highlight the work of: Ben Aronson, Tim Etchells, Scott Fraser, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Rin Johnson, Annie Kevans, Julian Opie, Polixeni Papapetrou, Gordon Parks, Scott Prior, Skip Steinworth, and Timotheus Tomicek.
Jenkins Johnson Gallery will premier Gordon Parks’ American Champion portfolio that narrates Muhammad Ali’s evolving identity as one of the greatest athletes and political catalysts of our time. Accompanying the portfolio is an essay by David E. Little, curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The release of this special portfolio illustrates both Ali’s and Parks’ place in history as two of the two greatest of all time in their respective fields. Parks, a master storyteller, offers rare glimpses of Ali without his full mask, as well as reveals him as champion, and entertainer during a historically significant period. Parks’ portraits of Ali began prior to Parks’ 1966 LIFE Magazine article “The Redemption of the Champ”. Through his anecdotes within the article, Parks rehabilitated Ali’s public image, which had suffered even though he had recently, famously, upset Sonny Liston for the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1964. Parks completed a second article in1970 titled “Look Out—He’s Back: A Different Muhammad Ali Returns to the Ring”. Ali has recently been commemorated in two films, “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” (2013), and HBO’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (2013) featuring Christopher Plummer. Both films document Ali’s refusal, on religious grounds, to serve in the Vietnam War, the subsequent suspension of his title, and the Supreme Court ruling reversing the courts decision, allowing Ali to box again. Esquire Magazine’s most popular cover featured Muhammad Ali in April 1968. Gordon Parks was honored earlier this year when filmmaker George Lucas and his wife committed $25 million to the University of Chicago for a new arts building to be named after this iconic American photojournalist and all around Renaissance man.
Celebrate Summer also includes Ben Aronson’s eight paintings of cityscapes, primarily of San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles. Paintings such as Taylor and Green continue his dedication to depicting the world around us with a particular focus on how California light changes our perception and mood of otherwise familiar scenes. His poetic way of seeing the world and emphasizing glimmers of lights tell a simple and intimate story of moments that could otherwise be seen as banal. The new paintings emphasize why viewers continue to be enthralled with Aronson’s work and his use of changing light and atmosphere. Over the past two years Aronson’s work has been featured in museums exhibitions in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. His work is in the collections of the de Young Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others.
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, an emerging, Los Angeles-based visual artist, writer, and performer, creates conversations about the complexities of history and power through her artwork. Inspired by Kara Walker and Wangechi Mutu, Hinkle has developed her own voice, evident in her ink, charcoal drawings, and collaged work. Her work was shown in The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Fore exhibition, and she was the youngest participant in the Made in LA 2012 biennial at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She was listed on The Huffington Post’s “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know.” Her artwork and performances have been reviewed by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Artforum, LA Weekly, and was featured Kanitra Fletcher’s recent essay “Re-covered: Wangechi Mutu, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, and the postcolonial potentiality of black women in colonial(ist) photographs”. KCET interviewed Hinkle for the article, “Haunted Geographies: The Living Work of Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle.” She was a finalist for the 2013 Los Angeles Artadia Award. This spring she had a solo exhibition at Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York, and was featured in Seven Sisters in 2013 with Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, Toyin Odutola and others. Her work has been exhibited at the AIPAD Photography Show in NY, Paris Photo Los Angeles.
Rin Johnson, a Bay Area native, graduate of Marin Academy, and NYU, and the youngest artist included in Celebrate Summer, was the featured artist of the week in The Wild Magazine. Johnson repurposes the outdated media of slides in her photographic series that highlight her travels across America. With the proliferation of smart phones and the Internet, images are easily accessible, but to view Johnson’s images, one must interact with the work to gain access to her photographs of Americana, leaning in to the slide viewer and engaging with the slide itself. Johnson has exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Berlin with recent exhibitions at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show and Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York and has shown her work at the AIPAD Photography Show in NY, and Paris Photo Los Angeles.
Celebrate Summer includes Austrian artist Timotheus Tomicek, whose video Swing was recently featured at the Moving Image Fair during Frieze week in London. Tomicek investigates how we fit into the world, how our unique experiences, emotions, and thoughts come together to form a whole. His engaging videos are often central to expansive installations that make the viewer question perceptions and expectations for the familiar, often contrasting stillness and movement. Tomicek was a finalist for the Fotobook Dummy Award Kassel, the Celeste Prize in Italy, and for the Arte Laguna Prize in Venice. His work has been reviewed in Artinfo, The New York Examiner, The Huffington Post, among others.