Jenkins Johnson Projects opens first installment of an exhibition series curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah

Art Daily, November 28, 2019



Jenkins Johnson Projects presents the first installment of On The Road, an exhibition series curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah highlighting the works of artists he encounters while traveling. Loosely inspired by Jack Kerouac’s 1957 Beat Generation novel about the travels of young men across postwar America, the title and historical context provide a space for Ossei-Mensah to interrogate contemporary issues of mobility, freedom and identity at a time marked by political and societal unease. 

For the inaugural exhibition, Ossei-Mensah focuses on three visual artists based in the Midwest: Caroline Kent, Basil Kincaid and Esau McGhee, all of whom he met in 2017 during his travels across the United States. Chicago-based artist Caroline Kent utilizes the visual language of abstraction to construct imagined spaces in her paintings that question how language can be understood. St. Louis-based artist Basil Kincaid leverages a multidisciplinary approach to explore notions of reclamation and heritage through quilting, photography and photographic collage. Chicago-based artist Esau McGhee investigates class and racial constructions by creating largescale photographic collages that capture the surfaces and textures we traverse daily as human beings. 


All of the artists featured in On The Road possess a unique ability to employ rigorous approaches to art making and experimentation via their artistic processes. Kent, Kincaid and McGhee actively leverage disparate modalities that explore overlapping themes percolating in the cultural zeitgeist such as heritage, the limits of language and the refusal for classification. Via this exploration and inquiry the viewer is invited to reflect and participate in this robust discourse shaping our shifting social, cultural and political landscape. 

Caroline Kent received her MFA from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 2008, and a BS in Art at Illinois State University, Normal, IL, in 1998. Recent and select exhibitions include How Objects Move through Walls (Company Project Space, Minneapolis, MN) and Out of Easy Reach (DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL). Select venues include The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE (2018); Triumph, Chicago (2017); Goldfinch, Chicago (2017); The Suburban, Oak Park, IL (2013); and California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at Saint Catherine’s University, St. Paul, MN and The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township, NJ and group exhibitions at the Flag Foundation for Art, NYC and Napoleon, Philadelphia, PA. Kent is a recipient of the 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Visual Arts; 2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; and a 2009 Jerome Fellowship in Fine Art. She is a current Fellow at Shandaken Projects Paint School, New York and the co-founder of Bindery Projects, Minneapolis. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN. 

Basil Kincaid, b. 1986, is an emerging, Post-Disciplinary Visual Artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. Kincaid graduated from Colorado College in 2010 with a concentration in Studio Art with emphasis on drawing and painting. He has exhibited work in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Boca Raton, Boston, New York, Montpellier, France and Accra, Ghana. Basil Kincaid was the inaugural Artist in Residence at JP Morgan and has four works in their permanent collection. He attended The Fountainhead Residency in Miami in 2017. In 2014-15 Kincaid was the inaugural recipient of the Arts Connect International Artist in Residence Program. 

Esau McGhee’s interdisciplinary artistic practice is a critique of image construction found in landscape. As of January 2019, McGhee will step into the role of Director at Tiger Strikes Asteroid-Chicago. His artistic practice has also led to the development of the podcast Too Many Degrees, of which he functions as Co-host and Co-producer. 

Recent solo exhibitions include Untitled (How Does it Feel) at Goldfinch Projects (Chicago, IL), Economy of Movement at Harper College (Palatine, IL), Blackitolism at Sector 2337 (Chicago, IL) and 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s at Elastic Arts (Chicago, IL). Current Group shows include SILOS at The Art League Houston (Houston TX) and Superimposed at Eastside International (Los Angeles, CA).