Color Bars: Sophia Dawson

March 12th – March 28th 2015
Curated by Charlotte Mouquin
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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Color Bars: Sophia Dawson
Opening Reception – Thursday March 12th 6-8pm
Artist Talk – Saturday March 28th 4-6pm

Rush Arts gallery is pleased to present Color Bars new work by Sophia Dawson at the Rush Arts Gallery Project space in Chelsea, NYC March 12th – March 28th 2015. Sophia Dawson is an artist, activist, and highly self-motivated African American woman. Color Bars is an exhibition of Dawson’s recent paintings and her first venture into sculpture.

Her large -scale figurative paintings depict black and white portraits of African Americans with bold vertical bars of color in the backgrounds. All visual media today is based on the balance of these colors bars. These colored stripes reference media blocks on television sets, or contemporary instagram or facebook feeds. The color bars can also be metaphors of the bars our society has formed around African American culture, specifically through law making and policing. The painting Unlawful Assembly, 2015 is part of an ongoing series of Dawson’s exploration of the history of law making and policing.   “Unlawful Assembly is the law created in 1682 to prevent slaves from gathering in groups of four or more without their master being present. Punishment for committing this crime was public whipping. The gathering of four or more individuals (with the intent of engaging in violence) still stands as a law today under NY. PEN. LAW. 240.10”

Every Mother’s Son is a portrait of the mother and sister of Eric Garner. This painting expanded into a mural project on the Lower East Side. Dawson is highlighting the women who’s sons were killed due to police brutality and racism.  With the non-indictments of the officers involved in the murders of both Mike Brown and Eric Garner, there have been a number of headlines and reactions. The artist aims to highlight the issue by studying the history of police brutality.  Through her research Dawson exemplifies policing in America began as a way to capture a runaway slave population and later to maintain a population of free blacks.

By revisiting and comparing slave laws, fugitive slave laws, and the contemporary justice system Dawson aims to change outlooks for the future.  She believes that this study of the past will better help to understand how this country has been built on principles designed to oppress people of color.  Color Bars illustrates scenarios, experiences, and individual stories and the relationship with what we see occurring in our society today.

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