Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Fort Gotham Girls + Boys Club, Brad Kahlhamer’s second exhibition with the gallery which includes drawing, watercolor, painting, sculpture and installation. Working within a multidisciplinary practice, Kahlhamer explores hybridity through the layering and convergence of personal narrative with symbols of public consumption, infusing his imagined spaces with references ranging from Native American visual motifs and traditions to street art and pop culture iconography.
Super Catcher, a constellation of dream catchers made of industrial metal wire and jingle bells, 10 feet in diameter, marks a new direction for Kahlhamer. Using the ubiquitous symbol of the dream catcher, perhaps the most recognizable and appropriated object of American Indian culture, it hangs as an intricate, sprawling, sieve-like chain link net. Super Catcher looms suspended from the ceiling as a swarm of elements in what Kahlhamer describes as “aftermarket spiritual rebar”. He combines the sacred with the commonplace, emblematic of the contradictions for which he is well known.
In the circular formation of the Next Level Figures, Kahlhamer continues to build his army of sculptures birthed from the remix of Hopi Katsina dolls and outsider totems. Similar to how the Katsina are used to describe and teach Hopi cosmology, the Next Level Figures form their own social landscape. The circle in which they are configured asserts itself throughout the exhibition in various iterations. As a unifying geometry which anchors ideas around physical and spiritual existence, the circle represents life and death through the movement of time and space. The openings between the figures represent the "four corners," North, West, East and South, referencing Wyoming’s Bighorn medicine wheel constructed by Plains Indians and which stands as part of a larger complex of interrelated archeological sites in the surrounding area.
The exhibition is anchored by new paintings, including Fort Gotham Girls + Boys Club. Large in scale, this work is a continuation of Kahlhamer’s downtown Bowery aesthetic, including painterly elements that open up to a conversation with modernist art history, underscoring his ever ambitious refinement of his unique visual language.