DM CONTEMPORARY, in its commitment to being a platform for relevant art that embodies the mood and spirit of the moment, is thrilled to present Soul Searching - a group exhibition that opens in NYC on the Friday following Election Day. This will be a historically defining moment, consequential for a country whose soul lies bare after a punishing election year – it is a turning point with ramifications way beyond the country’s borders. Featuring six artists whose work directly addresses social, political, and environmental issues, the exhibition Soul Searching opens on Friday, November 11th and remains on view through Saturday, December 17th, with an opening reception for the artists on Friday, November 11th from 6:00 until 8:00 pm.
Colin Chase‘s digital text drawings weave the words Tolerance, Love and Compassion into a visually striking gridded tapestry of words. To counteract the alarming images and sound bites seen and heard in the 24-hour news cycles about how the very fabric of our society is being pulled apart, the artist urges us all to pull together and “to embrace the positive repercussions of intertwining [Tolerance, Love and Compassion] throughout every fiber of our being.”
Linda Cummings’ photogravure and photographs address sexism and gender inequality – particularly the absence of women in careers dominated by men. That absence is contested by the artist by placing an effigy of the female, in the form of an empty slip that is tossed, right into the center of male dominated arenas, such as a church or a stadium. Interestingly, in light of recent revelations of seemingly acceptable sexist behavior, and in direct response to the slandering of Miss Universe, the “Hysterical Gestures” slip project that began in the Nineties, has been revived 15 years later in ‘The MISSerable Pageant’ performance.
The culture of surveillance and incarceration is examined and questioned by Elizabeth Duffy in her 'maximum security' series in which archival pigment prints of aerial views of prisons in the U.S.A. are altered with what she calls "bureaucracy materials", such as whiteout, whiteout tape, staples, circle reinforcements, and stamps of fingerprints on tape … her quilts from that same series highlight the similarities between traditional quilt patterns and the shapes found in prison design when seen from above. Conversely, while quilts usually bring to mind ideas of home, comfort, and security, prisons are designed to instill a sense of constant surveillance and paranoia.
Susan Hamburger’s ‘Moral Hazard’ series of painted paper collage panels based on the elaborate architectural panels in the style of Reveillon is a fitting sarcastic portrayal of corporate executives and politicians involved in recent sex scandals. Climate science deniers are given a similar ‘treatment’ in the ‘Creeping Ornamentalism’ series.
The flawed criminal justice’s morbid reality takes over in Debra Priestly’s Strange Fruit series. Archival digital prints showing autopsy reports of each of Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown are juxtaposed with images of mason jars, preserving their memory and with it a portion of disastrous race history. The artist’s use of the jars reflects her interest in common rituals and the way in which everyday objects used in simple rituals such as food preparation and consumption, can inspire a dialogue, “The simple act of taking tea or the mere presence of a teacup, a spoon, or a canning jar can become an important vehicle in the preservation and transmission of personal memory, ancestral knowledge and historic events.” Strange Fruit #38 preserves a moment of grace, when President Obama sang Amazing Grace to eulogize a South Carolina pastor gunned down in church.
Cheryl Yun’s image-based sculptural objects or "products" simultaneously mirror and subvert fashion and consumer culture to reveal, question, and reevaluate one's relationship to the world. The ‘bikini chronology’ was ‘triggered’ by the Sandy Hook shootings. The pattern on each bikini is a heart wrenching juxta positioning of the weapon used by the perpetrators in each of the mass shootings since Sandy Hook, overlaid against a watercolor paintings by the artist’s daughter, who was about the same age as the Sandy Hook victims at the time of the shooting and who went to a school in CT not far from there. The series continues to grow, unfortunately, as the grim events, in which gun violence causes the death of innocent people, continue with geographical locations, such as Sandy Hook, Aurora, Charleston…