Jenkins Johnson will present artists who explore social and political issues of the Black Diaspora by bridging historical and contemporary moments: Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Mary Lovelace O'Neal, Ming Smith, Enrico Riley, Blessing Ngobeni, Dewey Crumpler, Raelis Vasquez, Veronica Fernandez, Alex Jackson, Gordon Parks, Lisa Corinne Davis and Philemona Williamson. On a daily rotation, one outer wall will expand the viewing to include work by one of three emerging painters: Alex Jackson, Blessing Ngobeni, and Raelis Vasquez.
Ming Smith, the first black female photographer acquired by MoMA, creates haunting, ethereal photographs whose poetic and experimental images have become icons of 20th century life. We will present her vintage and modern prints from the 1970-90s. In 2022, Smith will exhibit at MoMA. This Fall, “Ming Smith: An Aperture Monograph” will be released. The first female member of Kamoinge, Smith is featured in “Louis Draper and Kamoinge” at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which travels to The Whitney and The Getty. She is in touring exhibitions “Soul of a Nation”, and “Arthur Jafa: A Series of Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions.” We received the 2019 Frieze NY Stand Prize for our presentation of her work, and featured her at 2019 Frieze Masters. She is in museums including: The Getty, The Whitney, and National Gallery.
Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell are founding members of AfriCOBRA, the collective that defined the visual aesthetic of the Black Arts Movement and influenced artists like Kerry James Marshall and Kehinde Wiley. We will present their work from the 1980s to now. Wadsworth’s pattern-intensive portraits combine vibrant colors with Black Power slogans to depict the intensity of political activism. Jae’s one-of-a-kind revolution-themed fine art garments exalt Black families and culture. Recent exhibitions include “Nation Time” at the 58th Venice Biennale, and the touring exhibition “Soul of a Nation.” This Fall, they will show at Jenkins Johnson. Wadsworth will soon release “AFRICOBRA: Experimental Art Towards a School of Thought.” Their works are in collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum, and National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Enrico Riley is a Guggenheim fellow and Rome Prize winner. His paintings investigate violence and hope in historical and contemporary cultural traditions in African American culture. Riley will have a solo exhibition at University of New Hampshire. He was in “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges. Riley had a solo show at the American Academy in Rome. He is in museums including Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Studio Museum in Harlem. He is a professor at Dartmouth College.
Blessing Ngobeni works across disciplines in painting, collage, sculpture, video animation, sound installations and live performances. He creates a hybrid language of Surrealism, Dada and Neo-Expressionism in his large-scale paintings condemning South Africa’s socio-political system. Ngobeni’s work brings attention to the failures of the government to deliver on Nelson Mandela’s promises of a more equal society, post-Apartheid. His multi-layered canvases combine imagery from magazines, books, and social media within his distinctive figurative characters, reflecting various perspectives on current affairs of our time.
Lisa Corinne Davis uses abstraction to explore the relationship of race, culture and history. Her work is in museums including MoMA and The Getty. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellow.
Philemona Williamson’s narrative paintings explore the bridge between adolescence and adulthood, encapsulating the intersection of innocence and experience. Her work is in museums including the Montclair Art Museum and Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Mary Lovelace O’Neal is an activist, painter and printmaker known for her iconic use of the pigment lamp black (one of America’s “most vibrant and inventive abstract painters” states Pamela Joyner). A vital force in American art since the mid-1960s, her paintings pair bold, monumental scale with layers of materials; she explores deeply personal narratives and mythologies, along with themes of social justice, racism and the environment. Her 1960s emblematic Lampblack series has roots in Minimalism and Expressionism, exemplified by the Color Field painters, and the Black Arts Movement. In the 70s she expanded to vibrant compositions and references to real imagery. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco. O’Neal is in collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery, SFMoMA, Baltimore Museum and Joyner/Giuffrida Collection.
Dewey Crumpler examines the lure of contemporary pop culture in his mixed media works, which explore global consumer capitalism. He is an Associate Professor of Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught Kehinde Wiley and Deborah Roberts. Upcoming exhibitions include Dewey Crumpler: Crossings at the Richmond Art Center, a 15-year survey including over 120 of his works. He is in the permanent collections of the Oakland Museum of California; the Triton Museum of Art, 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 Fleishhacker Foundation Fellowship Eureka Award. Crumpler lives and works in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA.
Raelis Vasquez is a visual artist who immigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States. His work explores personal and political themes regarding his experience as an Afro-Latino artist in America. He confronts the inaccurate stereotypes of his Afro-Latino ancestry by unveiling historical silences of family, societal life and the traumatic and disruptive experience of immigration. His work is in collections including the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; he is a 2021 MFA candidate at Columbia University.
Veronica Fernandez is a mixed media artist based in New York and Los Angeles who creates work that discusses relationships between people and their environments. Frequently using personal memorabilia and experience as a canon for her pieces, Fernandez discusses the various ways we perceive our ever-fluctuating memories over time and the atmospheres around us. Using colorful, large scale canvases with varying textured surfaces, paint is used as an expressive vehicle to highlight themes of disconnection, impermanence, and reconstruction, meanwhile putting a focus on the alternative realities we are apart of and enter when reflecting on our past and present. Veronica has recently graduated with her BFA in Fine Arts at The School of Visual Arts and is currently working in Los Angeles, California.
Alex Jackson plays with the foundation of human perception by challenging viewers to suspend their historical understanding of painting and actively participate in new explorations of color and meaning. Jackson’s practice includes the use of the grid and the color wheel, commenting on how artists are encouraged to perceive and break-down the world into empirical measurements such as color, shape, and line. In turn, Jackson simultaneously confronts society’s infatuation in the categorization of an individual's race, gender, and sexuality. A lexicon of characters, objects and spaces reoccur throughout his paintings, collapsing timeframes of the past, present and future. Alex Jackson was selected by curator Larry Ossei-Mensah as one of his Curator’s Picks for Untitled, Miami Beach. He was recently featured in Block Party at Jenkins Johnson Projects, New York and has appeared on the cover of New American Paintings. He has been reviewed in The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. Jackson has exhibited at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Elmhurst Art Museum, and the Chazen Museum of Art. He has a MFA from Yale University, a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was a resident at the Skowhegan School of Art. Jackson lives and works in New Haven, CT.
Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era- from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes.