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Interwoven: Sedrick & Letitia Huckaby

February 2019

The Harlem School of the Arts with curator and Director of Art & Design, Adrienne Elise Tarver, proudly presents, “Interwoven,” an exhibition featuring the work of artists Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby.

This unique exhibition presents married couple, Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby’s work side-by-side highlighting their individual and mutual interests in the ties that bind generations in the black community. Textiles play a large role in these recent bodies of work, as they have in the histories of the black community in America. From the cotton picked in southern plantations to the intricate patchwork quilts made from scraps of old clothes, there’s resilience and resourcefulness that is woven into the threads of black history in the United States.

Letitia presents work from her series “40 Acres...Gumbo Ya Ya,” referencing the unfulfilled promise of land to formerly enslaved individuals in post-civil-war America, and the Cajun phrase meaning everybody is talking at once. She stretches images of rural Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas printed on fabric over embroidery hoops, referencing domestic work and handmaid heirlooms which cultivate sentimental value over generations instead of monetary value as the land would have if the promise were kept.

Calling attention to two textiles that tell histories and hold sentimental value, Sedrick’s large-scale oil paintings are visceral and personal portraits of individuals in memorial t-shirts whose backgrounds often feature quilts. The t-shirts, a contemporary trend used to immortalize loved ones with fashion sit in contrast to the traditional artisan craft of quilting that allowed the black community to pass histories and images through the generations and which have been popularly elevated in the contemporary art world by artists, Faith Ringgold and the quilters of Gees Bend.

Together, the work of Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby interweaves images of people and places asking us to value the everyday individuals and the forgotten locations that contribute to the larger story of this country.

 
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Photo credit: Matthew Vicari

Photo credit: Matthew Vicari

Color Codes: Translating Color

January 2018

The Harlem School of the Arts with curator and Director of Art & Design, Adrienne Elise Tarver, proudly presents, “Color Codes: Translating Color,” the first exhibition of the 2018 exhibition season at the HSA Gallery which this year, tackles the theme of Translation. The artists in “Color Codes” question our collective assumptions and interpretations of color–from race to money to cognitive perception.

Color, a collaboration between the eye and the brain, translates light, resulting in a rainbow of hues we name and categorize. Apples are red, the sky is blue and grass is green–and though we happily label the color of these objects, our individual experiences of these colors vary from that of our neighbor. Definitions of colors are the result of interpreting and agreeing on what we assume to be a universal experience–but assumptions are dangerous and have led to revelations ranging from surprising to destructive.

Scrutinizing the skin-color categorizing chromatic scale created by Austrian ethnographer, Felix Von Luschan, painter, Kellie Romany, creates visceral, yet abstract bodily representations. Interested in both the materiality of paint and the biological processes of the body, Romany uses flesh tones and allows the paintings to drip, crack and crinkle, changing over time–like the body as it ages–defying expectations of perfection or stasis and eschewing categorization of color or form.

Similarly, Daniel Johnson, employs his background in photography to dissect the chromatic scale of skin, but instead of looking to the past, he looks to current modes of documenting skin tone. Johnson’s “ You’ll Know That They’re Colored When You See Them” series looks at the digital representation of celebrities’ complexions through the 225 values used in a digital photograph file. The resulting color grids of personalities such as Beyonce, Paula Dean, and Barack Obama, both surprise and reveal individual and collective assumptions of color, race, and labels in modern America.

South American artist, Carlos Torres Machado, draws from his international background to look at color and value on a global scale. Using money as the backdrop to understand value, in his “Data Center” series, he removes the usual signs and symbols of money. He instead pulls colors from international currency and the rectangular format of scrolling stock tickers to create imposing, color-blocked installations that demand to be seen, but resist decoding.

Thinking about the brain, where color originates, Lauren Bierly uses her experience having synaesthesia, a condition where the brain mixes sensory experiences, to translate text to the colors that appear to her as she reads and more recently to translate her memory of a particular place into a palette of colors. Using this biological glitch as a catalyst, she explores the human experience of color as a means to create a new language and to investigate perception and behavior as dictated by our sense.

 
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Studies of Jahyne : Tarah Douglas

October 2017

Studies of Jahyne is an interdisciplinary exploration of the essence of femininity and its relationship to the female body through the means of garment making and photography. The point of departure for this project is derived from the name Jahyne (Jane, Jayne, Jane Doe) as it represents the muse; a name given to correlate one to gender or sex in the same way that femininity connects to the female body. Curated by Adrienne Tarver, Director of HSA Art & Design.
Tarah Douglas (b. 1992, Oakland, CA) is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is centered around photography, fiber works and graphic explorations. Her work grapples with notions of identity, race, gender, and class through the lens of mysticism, ritual, and performance. Tarah holds a B.F.A from University of Michigan. She currently resides in Newark, NJ.