Jenkins Johnson Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in Expo Chicago at Navy Pier, September 19-22, 2019 in Booth 259. We will present a selection of artworks that create a dialogue on marginalization, colonialism, and the construction of identity through experimental materiality and transcendent representation. This international presentation will feature artists including Ming Smith, Lavar Munroe, Caroline Kent, Turiya Magadlela, Scott Fraser, Ben Aronson, and will debut artists Dewey Crumpler, Chiffon Thomas, Alex Jackson, and Enrico Riley in Chicago.
Interdisciplinary artist Lavar Munroe is a significant figure of Caribbean and Diaspora art. He incorporates materiality in order to explore income disparity, war, and racism. He will present new artworks expanding upon his ‘Redbones’ series, a fictionalized account of a group of children forced by wealthy landowners to be on the frontline of war as a rite of passage. Munroe unites media such as earrings along with gory crimson and pink colors as a reflection of the atrocities that occur throughout the Global South and a demonstration of the requisite trauma that lies just beneath the surface of people’s impacted by colonialism. Currently showing in “Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, & Gold” at the Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco, “The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art” at the Perez Art Museum Miami, and “Get Up! Stand Up Now!” at Somerset House, Munroe composes artworks that exist between painting and sculpture. He recently had a 10 year survey at the National Gallery of the Bahamas, was a participant in Okwui Enwezor’s 56th Venice Biennale and in Trevor Schoonmaker’s Prospect 4, and will show in the 2020 Kampala Biennial.
Painter Enrico Riley further builds on these experimentations in the representation of black bodies. His paintings are part of an unfolding and evolving cycle that investigates themes of historical and contemporary violence, martyrdom, grief, and the middle passage within a spatial domain. For many Americans, exposure to the plethora of recent media examples of reflexive violence perpetrated on African-Americans has blurred the boundaries between the historical record and the problems still facing contemporary culture today. Riley will present new artworks that explore themes of resistance and focus on the binding role of African American women as powerful, stable forces that bring culture forward into the future. Riley has a Rome Prize in Visual Arts, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize, a Jacobus Family Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was awarded the George Frederick Jewitt Professorship in Art at Dartmouth College. Our recent show of his was reviewed in The New York Times. His work is in collections including the Dean Collection, Columbus Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
Jenkins Johnson Gallery will debut works by painter Dewey Crumpler. Crumpler examines the lure of contemporary pop culture in his mixed media works, which explore global consumer capitalism. He also focuses on time through the portrayal of shadows as time markers and the use of reflective materials combined with heavily saturated colors, representing the duality between the fleeting nature of the present spirit and the weight of memory. He will present new works that respond to German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s quotation “In the dark times will there also be singing?” Crumpler is an Associate Professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he has taught artists including Kehinde Wiley and Deborah Roberts. He was recently featured by The New York Times’ Roberta Smith, speaking on his murals commissioned for George Washington High School in response to Victor Arnautoff’s “The Life of Washington” mural cycle after outcry from the Black Panthers and others. He is in the permanent collections of the Oakland Museum of California; the Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA; and the California African American Museum. Digital images of his murals were included in the 2017 Tate Modern’s “Soul of a Nation.” He received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant, a Flintridge Foundation Award, and the Fleishacker Foundation Fellowship Eureka Award.
Chicago-born, interdisciplinary artist Chiffon Thomas likewise makes their debut. The narrative imagery in Thomas’ richly textured pieces is sourced from family archives, personal memories, and cultural references from the artist’s formative years. These scenes are deconstructed into sketches and then built back up with colorful fibers and other found materials, stitch by stich. Thomas’s works appear to shift in and out of focus, resulting in visceral collisions of abstraction and clarity that invite viewers to decode the fraught relations between memory and reality, visibility and understanding. Thomas is currently pursuing a MFA in painting at Yale and was a 2018 resident at the Skowhegan School of painting and sculpture. Recently, they had their first solo exhibitions at Roman Susan in Chicago, at Gaylord with support from the Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and at Dorsky Gallery in Queens, New York.
Chicago-based artist and Artadia finalist Caroline Kent examines the very concept of expression, exploring the convergence of language, abstraction, and painting. For Kent, painting is not a means to an end but a beginning, through which she can freely consider how producing pictures in the world can potentially operate and stimulate how we think about communicating. She has shown at the Walker Art Center, the DePaul Art Museum and Theater, and Jenkins Johnson Projects. She has won the McKnight Fellowship for Visual Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and the Shandaken Projects Paint School Fellowship.
Ming Smith documents black urban life with mysterious, ethereal photography. Smith combines a deliberate blurriness with experimental post-production techniques including double exposed prints, collage, and painting. She was the first black female photographer acquired by the Museum of Modern Art and the first female member of the influential photography collective Kamoinge. Gordon Parks wrote of Smith’s work, stating her “wonderous imagery… gives eternal life to things that might well have been forgotten.” Smith was included in MoMA’s 2010 groundbreaking exhibition, “Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography.” Recently, she was in Brooklyn Museum’s “We Wanted A Revolution” and London’s Serpentine Gallery exhibition “Arthur Jafa: A Series of Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions.” She is currently showing at Modern Museet, Sweden and in the travelling exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” She will exhibit at the Smart Museum, Illinois, this fall alongside artists including Faith Ringgold, Nick Cave, and Kerry James Marshall and at MoMA in 2022. Her work is in collections including MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
Jenkins Johnson Gallery will show additional artworks by Scott Fraser, Ben Aronson, Alex Jackson, and Turiya Magadlela.