Curated by Dexter Wimberly, The Future is Abstract highlights the work of four multidisciplinary, contemporary artists working in abstract painting and mixed-media. The exhibition includes an array of rigorous, process-driven works made from reclaimed or found materials, as well as classic painting and production techniques. The exhibiting artists use abstraction to address concerns that range from the personal to the political. Their challenging work is a testament to the continued evolution and relevance of abstraction.
RELATED EVENT – Community Opening: The Future is Abstract, Alison Saar: The Nature of Us, Jordan Casteel: Harlem, Zun Lee: Father Figure
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Rushern Baker’s paintings mix traditional media with building materials in complex compositions, evoking landscapes that refer back to the urban and suburban environment. Additional points of reference include the writings of Octavia Butler, Black abstraction, the New York School, and Soviet Constructivism. These myriad ideas shape Baker’s studio practice, characterized by a sense of lawlessness, similar to that of the subjects that fascinate him.
DeShawn Dumas creates mixed-media wall tablets from various remnants of heavy industry and consumerism, including chain-link fences, steel frames, spray paint, and plexi glass. His focus is the use of materials that function socially. Obtaining these materials allows Dumas to explore the relationship between handicraft and what he refers to as art’s “relationship to the machine.” Deeply inspired by energy, the works are meant to move the viewer.
Torkwase Dyson’s paintings, drawings and sculptures are informed by the contemporary and historical conditions in and through which Black people negotiate systems and deeply rooted ideological orders within built and natural environments in the United States. She merges ideas such as site and built environments, nature and culture under the classification of environmentalism. Fascinated with transformations, ambiguities and environmental changes that place these subjects in relationship to each other, Dyson’s work revolves around investigating our connections to imagination, materiality, geography and belonging.
Brenna Youngblood explores the iconography of public and private experiences and issues of identity, ethics, and representation. Youngblood freely experiments with aspects of formalism, materials, and processes as part of her rigorous studio practice. With a background in photomontage, Youngblood builds the surfaces of many paintings simultaneously while assessing the relationships between each object in formation. Humor and satire are intuitively interwoven in the choices she makes about composition, line, form, and content.