Jefferson Pinder / Dark Matter

[email protected]
Dec 29, 2015 3:53PM

Jefferson Pinder / 2014 / Dark Matter (Introduction) / Under bright police lights, break-dancers dressed in black perform a series of actions that reference the Ferguson events from August of 2014. In this work B-boys physically reference the actions from the murder that took place during August 9th and the ensuing riots. This performance pairs athletic movement with social struggle.

During the past couple of years in which identity politics have taken center stage, multimedia artist Jefferson Pinder examines 21st-century social conflicts through break dance. Working with the international b-boy crew Lionz of Zion, Pinder directs a performance that wrestles with the nature of violence and control. The performance unfolds contemporary uprisings and the forces that seek to control them. Dark Matter(s) is organized by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of African America Art and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland in collaboration with The Phillips Collection.

Interdisciplinary artist Jefferson Pinder gained national attention with the exhibition Frequency at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2006. In this exhibition was Car Wash Meditations, a short video of a car rolling through a carwash to the music of Nas’s “Made You Look,” while explosive colors of soap manifest as action painting on the screen. The combination of sound and image is set against a profile of a black man, Pinder, seated in the car. Such is the complexity of Pinder, who intuitively applies his knowledge of music, imagery, and performance to address complex issues of race, ethnicity, and class. Unfortunately events, recent and historical provide Pinder with no end of material that he powerfully and poetically composes in compelling performances. Troy Patterson of Slate Magazine, writing for Southern Living, praised Pinder’s work saying its impact “lies in its ability to provoke meaningful dialogue.” The Washington Post compared his early work to that of Jacob Lawrence saying, “Like all Pinder’s best videos, it is a simple conceit, simply realized. But it speaks simply of the same complexities that Jacob Lawrence did.”

Pinder says of his work, “Inspired by the symbiosis of music and the moving image, I portray the black body both frenetically and through drudgery in order to convey relevant cultural experiences. To get to the essence of this conversation, I place no restrictions on the tools that I employ as an artist, working with materials as disparate as neon lighting and found items in my sculptural stylizations. I find ways in which reclaimed materials convey rugged histories, relating them to a Black American experience.”

Jefferson Pinder (b. 1970, Washington, D.C.) has produced highly praised performance-based and multidisciplinary work for over a decade. His work has been featured in numerous group shows including exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, The High Museum in Atlanta, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and Tate Modern in London, UK. He received a BA in Theatre and MFA in Mixed Media from the University of Maryland, and studied at the Asolo Theatre Conservatory in Sarasota, FL. He was an Assistant Professor of theory, performance and foundations at the University of Maryland from 2003-2011. Since relocating to Chicago from Washington DC in 2011, Pinder is an Associate Professor in the Contemporary Practices department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.