Jenkins Johnson presented artists who explore social and political issues of the Diaspora by linking past and contemporary moments. To strengthen this connection, we will unveil the viewing room in two stages. The first presentation Wednesday and Thursday, December 2 and 3 includes Aubrey Williams, Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Ming Smith, Lisa Corinne Davis, Rashaad Newsome, Blessing Ngobeni, and Enrico Riley. The second presentation Friday - Sunday, December 4 - 6, expands the viewing to include work by twentieth century master Gordon Parks, emerging artists Alex Jackson, Raelis Vasquez and Cameron Welch. This staggered presentation stimulates a multi-generational dialogue that is reflective of our time.
Aubrey Williams (1926 Guyana-1990 London) a key figure of Post-War painting in Britain and a founding member of the 1960s Caribbean Artists Movement, is being rediscovered. Williams paintings unite references ranging from astronomy, ecology, pre-Columbian iconography and music. His work is in collections including the Tate Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and he has upcoming museum exhibitions in the United Kingdom. Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, founding members of AfriCOBRA, helped create and define the aesthetic of the Black Arts Movement. They are in many museums including the Brooklyn Museum, Cleveland Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Ming Smith, the first black female photographer acquired by MoMA, creates ethereal documents on Black life. Smith’s current exhibition “Louis Draper and Kamoinge” travels to The Whitney, The Getty and Cincinnati Art Museum.
Lisa Corinne Davis uses abstraction to explore the relationship of race, culture and history. Her work is in museums including MoMA and The Getty. Rashaad Newsome’s new-cubist collages draw on advertisements, the Internet, and black and queer culture to produce narratives on intersectionality and social practice. His work is in museums including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Blessing Ngobeni of South Africa, creates a hybrid language of surrealism, dada and neo-expressionism in his paintings condemning South Africa’s political system. Ngobeni received the 2020 Standard Bank Award for Visual Arts. Enrico Riley, a Guggenheim fellow, investigates themes of historical and contemporary survival. He recently exhibited at the American Academy in Rome, Crystal Bridges and Hood Museum, and he is in collections including Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Studio Museum in Harlem.
Gordon Parks (1912 Kansas – 2006 New York), a pioneer of 20th century art, was an American photographer, writer, composer, and filmmaker whose career spanned over six decades. His work is in many collections including The Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum. Alex Jackson uses narrative painting as a departure point to explore the entanglement between visual mechanics of space, history, and the body, and the experience of these, both embodied and imagined. He has exhibited at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI. Raelis Vasquez explores personal and political themes as an Afro-Latino in America. His work is in the collection of the Perez Art Museum, Miami. Cameron Welch’s mosaics reference Black identity, modern society and mythology through the use of collaging found objects including CDs, brooms, mirrors, with traditional mosaic techniques. Welch’s work has been featured in such publications as Vice, Hyperallergic, Hypebeast, and Forbes. Welch has an MFA from Columbia University, and a BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.