Galleries

Girl-Bye

October 2-31, 2014
Curated by Rashaad Newsome
Rush Arts Gallery
526 W 26th St # 311
New York, NY 10001
Hours: Wed - Sat 12-6 pm
(212) 691-9552
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Girl Bye – Curated by Rashaad Newsome
Artists include: Doreen Garner, Dana DeGiulio, Kenya (Robinson)

Oct. 2nd – Oct 31st 2014
Opening Reception – Thursday Oct. 2nd 6-8pm
Artist Talk – Sat. Oct. 18th 3-5pm

“Girl bye,” a popular colloquialism that is notably among the quips and verbal arsenal of many Black female reality TV stars, and among the canon of widely-circulated internet memes featuring celebrities serving severe side-eye (such as Rihanna and Nene Leaks of Real Housewives of Atlanta stardom), represents a grandiose and flamboyant dismissal. It is a performative palm to the face. Girl bye also signifies an epistemological shift, the need to approach a subject from different paradigms.

Appropriately named after the popular expression, this exhibition (Girl Bye!) brings together video, photograph, and collage by three artists who urge us to consider new ways to understand our complex social worlds. Through bold and irreverent creative gestures they investigate discourses around identity, power, and resistance.

A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design’s Glass MFA program, Doreen Garner’s performance and sculptural work juxtaposes beautiful and grotesque imagery to complicate the viewer’s visual experience. In a video piece Uniqua Revisited, the artist considers the enduring history of the Black female body as spectacle. Garner dances seductively in a clad white bikini to LL Cool J’s “Doing It,” conjuring the hypersexual Jezebel archetype. A video collage of repulsive imagery — fatty flesh, incisions made to the chest of a corpse, crawling maggots, bloody organs — projects over her. Using her body as a site of investigation, Garner maps new meaning onto her flesh that complicates the iconography and consumption of Black women’s bodies within the American imagination.

A native of Gainesville, Florida and graduate of Yale School of Art’s MFA program, Kenya (Robinson) remixes narratives of power as it relates to race, class, and marginalization. Her stylized book covers interweave descriptions of suspense and mystery plots, images of pop culture luminaries, and fictive reviews from revered intellectuals. Jesus Be A Lacefront imagines a duo of Black hairstylists who cultivate a successful weave enterprise by scalping rich white men. Her collages permeate through social boundaries with references to popular culture, academia, the art world, and the social lives of the Black working class.

Chicago artist and SAIC alumni Dana DeGiulio reveals the fragility of structures in her performance work.  “Medusa” is a photographic documentation of a performance in which the artist drove a 1996 Buick Lasabre into the wall of The Suburban, an independent exhibition space in Oak Park, Illinois. The artist received permission by the gallery’s co-operator, artist and curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial Michelle Grabner. The photo depicts the permanently broken facade of the building after the car’s removal; a gaping hole where bricks and wood once separated the interior from the outside world. The literal and metaphorical undoing and transforming of the building reminds us that institutions and structures can be breached.
– Kiyan Williams

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