CURATED BY JEFFREEN M. HAYES, PHD
ARTISTS: Regina Agu, Yaw Agyeman, Rabēa Ballin, Wesley Clark, Nathaniel Donnett, Shané Gooding, Esau McGhee, Johana Moscoso, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Ellington Robinson, Stacy-Lynn Waddell, and Rhonda Wheatley
November 16, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Main & Hallway Galleries
Art League Houston presents Silos, a group exhibition curated by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D (Chicago) featuring artists Regina Agu (Houston), Yaw Agyeman (Chicago), Rabēa Ballin (Houston), Wesley Clark (DMV area), Nathaniel Donnett (Houston), Shané Gooding (DC), Esau McGhee (Chicago), Johana Moscoso (Sheboygan/Chicago), Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (Orlando), Ellington Robinson (DC/Virgin Islands), Stacy-Lynn Waddell (NC/NYC), and Rhonda Wheatley (Chicago).
As a microcosm of our society, the art world maintains a system of marginalization based on racial and cultural difference. Artists identified as Other function in the silos, just as they do in society. Within this system, many of the artists create some of the most provocative works of art.
This exhibition, Silos, presents artists of color who examine the silos, otherness, and the cultural and social ramifications of marginalization based on one’s identity, whether self-defined or inscribed. With artists examining this space, absence and exclusion cannot be ignored. Bearing witness, as they do, not only identifies the pressing issues but also challenges the norm of marginalization, absence, and exclusion. This exhibit marks the third iteration of Silos, a multiyear project curated by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D and previously exhibited at Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College, Chicago, IL in 2017 and the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C in 2016.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Jeffreen M. Hayes PhD (Chicago)
Jeffreen M. Hayes, a trained art historian and curator, merges administrative, curatorial, and academic practices into her cultural practice of supporting artists and community development. As an advocate for racial inclusion, equity, and access, Jeffreen has developed a curatorial and leadership approach that invites community participation, particularly those in marginalized communities. Her curatorial projects include Intimate Interiors (2012), Etched in Collective History (2013), SILOS (2016), Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman (2018), and Process (2019). Additionally, she is a guest curator for Artpace San Antonio’s International Artist-in-Residence program. Jeffreen is the Executive Director of Threewalls, a Chicago-based organization that brings segregated communities, people, and experiences together through art. Under her leadership, Threewalls intentionally develops artistic platforms that encourage connections beyond traditional engagements with art.
Jeffreen earned a Ph.D in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, a Masters in Art History from Howard University, and a BA from Florida International University in Humanities. She has worked at several museums and cultural institutions including Birmingham Museum of Art, Hampton University Museum, Library of Congress and the National Gallery of Art.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Regina Agu (Houston)
Regina Agu is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in Houston, TX. Her recent work investigates the complex relationships between the landscape and communities of color, with a special focus on the U.S. Gulf Coast region. Her work is conceptually oriented towards language, history, and representation. Agu's practice employs a variety of tactics drawn from critical geography, conceptual writing, and poetry. Her research often involves site exploration and working with and through archives. Agu produces texts, photographs, and drawings, in addition to installations, performances, and collaborative public projects.
Her work has been included in exhibitions, public readings, and performances nationally. She is a 2018 Center for Arts and Social Engagement + Project Row Houses fellow at the University of Houston. Agu received a 2017 Artadia Houston award and was a 2016-2017 Open Sessions participant at The Drawing Center. Agu was the co-director of Alabama Song, a collaboratively-run art space in Third Ward, Houston, which received a 2016 SEED grant from The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Agu is the founder of the Houston-based WOC Reading Group, and her other collaborative projects include Friends of Angela Davis Park and the Houston-based independent small press paratext.
Yaw Agyeman (Chicago)
Yaw Agyeman is an interdisciplinary performing artist born in Chicago. He works primarily as a musician/sound designer but also has an extensive theater background (actor) and makes photos. Yaw’s work addresses language as cultural currency. His work also uses space as a way to share music, community, and culture. He has toured in the play Red, Black and Green: a blues (MAPP) and performed in the world premiere of the musical, Mister Chickee's Funny Money (Chicago Children's Theater). The play features music from the Motown great, Lamont Dozier. He has been featured on VH1's "Soul Cities," a show produced by Nelson George that showcases singers in cities all over the country, as well as on the Africa Channel's, "Soundtracks at Red Kiva," a program that focuses on artists of African descent. Currently, he is a member of the artistic collaboration, "Black Monks of Mississippi," headed by the dynamic and prolific, Theaster Gates.
He has performed at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Biennale in Venice, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, White Cube in London, documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, Art Basel in Miami and the Whitney Biennial. His video work, den na ma ye, was exhibited at the American University in Washington D.C and at the Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College in Chicago in the group show SILOS, curated by Jeffreen Hayes.
In April of 2017, the Black Monks produced three vinyl records and premiered a documentary in Helsinki at the IHME Contemporary Art Festival. He is a performer in the touring production, “Pehlotah” which showed at the MCA (Chicago), Kennedy Center and Brooklyn Art Museum and will tour at other venues in 2018 and 2019. He is a (2016 - 2017) artist in residence through the office of Arts + Public Life, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago.
Rabēa Ballin (Houston)
Born in Germany, raised in Louisiana, Houston-based artist Rabēa Ballin’s works explore the uniqueness of self-identity and beautification practices that involve hair. Influenced early on by Nigerian photographer J.D. ‘Okjai Ojeikere, Ballin continues to explore the complexities of hair as sculpture and their often lost cultural meanings. She documents these themes through digital photography, drawing and various printmaking practices. In addition to working as an independent artist, she has also been an active member of the all-female ROUX printmaking collective since 2011.
Rabēa moved to Houston to pursue her MFA in drawing and painting at the University of Houston. She earned her BFA in Fine Art from McNeese State University. During her years at McNeese she returned to Germany to attend the Göthe Institute, subsequently studying Art History in Rome and Florence, Italy. Currently a Professor of Fine Arts, she is living and working in Houston’s historical Third Ward community and exhibiting nationally.
Wesley Clark (DMV area)
Wesley Clark was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University — where he was twice awarded The Morris Louis Fellowship in 2010 and 2011; a fellowship primarily awarded once per incoming graduate class.
Clark primarily creates mixed media wood assemblages that read as familiar to the general masses, and are often hybrids of two or more objects or concepts. He refers to these objects as artifacts or fictional artifacts, made to look as if they’ve lived a life prior to being on display and prompting viewers to question their importance and create their own narratives based on their answers. Clark infuses social and politic criticisms into his works; merging the historical with the contemporary, to speak on issues faced by Blacks in America.
Wesley Clark has exhibited works at institutions such as the Katzen Arts Center at American University, in Washington DC, Columbia College’s Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, and Prizm Art Fair in Miami, Florida during Miami Art Week. His work, My Big Black America is in the permanent collection of the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina. His works Target, 456 & Welcome to the Tea Party were acquired in 2013 by noted art collector, Peggy Cooper Cafritz. In 2016, he was commissioned by The American Alliance of Museums to create, Shift. Rotate. Repeat. — a public artwork at the site of President Lincoln’s cottage in Washington, DC for museum week. Clark was a panelist for the Critical Craft Forum that took place at the College Arts Association 2016 conference. He has also been a guest lecturer at Capital City Public Charter School High School, in Washington, DC, speaking to students about thinking through one’s ideas and developing their process.
Nathaniel Donnett (Houston)
I created a term to conceptually and formally (self) identify my multidisciplinary art practice. I call it Dark Imaginarence. Dark Imaginarence is rooted in socio-political concerns, working class resourcefulness, Black American cultural expression, the everyday aesthetic, and the experiential. I'm interested in human behavior and the society that shapes it. I am mainly presenting questions or what comes from them, the notion of Black Americans being and subjectivity as a way to arrive at an idea of black objectivity (to which there is none; therefore, an ongoing quest). Black as human being, space occupiers, socio-political critique, and idea generators are generally viewed through the lens of discrimination and fetishisms; oppression and survivors; resilience and inventiveness. These descriptions, I think, informs the Black Aesthetic or types of aesthetics that amplifies the black experience and its nuance. These descriptions not only questions what is or can be contemporary art but also centers blackness as the expansive and not the restrictive in terms of the social and spatial location. I'm interested in this idea of the spatial and the socio-political-poetics of everyday blackness that exists within these conflicting contexts. While addressing this human condition in this context, I hope to achieve a deeper understanding of self and society. I wish to find in some way, a parallel in my work, to all the things that Black music accomplishes within the personal and social settings.
Nathaniel Donnett lives and works in Houston, Texas and received his BA in fine arts at Texas Southern University. Donnett is the founder of the website blog "Not That But This." Donnett is a recipient of a 2017/2011 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant, 2015 Houston Downtown Vehicular Wayfinding Signs Project public art commission. Donnett has also received a 2014 Harpo Foundation Grant, 2015/2011 Idea Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, and a 2010 Artadia Award. Selected exhibitions were at The Ulrich Museum, Wichita, KS, The McColl Center, Charlotte, NC, The American Museum, Washington, DC, The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Theresa Hotel, Harlem, NY, Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture, Charlotte, NC, The Community Artist's Collective, Houston, TX, The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, The University Museum, Houston, TX, and The New Museum, New York, NY.
Shané K. Gooding (DC)
Shané K. Gooding is a photographer and video artist telling stories about the human experience. Part of her work is deeply personal and reflects on home and identity. Another part of her work also analyzes and probes into the image constructions and representations of race and visibility in mass media, it’s vapidity and the toggle with intersectionality, from the individual agency to the macro level of systems. Her interest is in creating imagery that illuminates those and the personal journeys of those blown out of sight. The mode is interdisciplinary multimedia with an expanded notion of photography to encompass moving portraiture, video installations and writings with a multi-platform approach.
Gooding was educated at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, majoring in Film and Television. She began interning, working and writing in the film and television industry with production companies like DreamWorks and Miramax. She soon after received her Masters degree from Howard University in Mass Communications and Media Studies. As of recent, she received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for Photography. Her work has been exhibited at such places like the Center for Fine Art of Photography, Art Expo Chicago, Filter Photo, South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago and Smack Mellon Gallery in New York. She has also Co-Produced a documentary for PBS.
Esau McGhee (Chicago)
Esau McGhee’s interdisciplinary artistic practice is a critique of image construction found in landscape. Utilizing photography, found objects, collage and sculpture the works physically embody conventional strategies of representation, class and race construction.
McGhee is a member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid which is a network of artist-run spaces that seek to further empower the artist’s role beyond that of studio practitioner to include the roles of curator, critic and community developer. His artistic practice has also lead to the development of the podcast Too Many Degrees. Of which he functions as Co-host and Co-producer. He currently works and lives in the United States.
Johana Moscoso (Sheboygan/Chicago)
Johana Moscoso is an artist who explores co-narratives of South American and North American cultures. She incorporates a variety of mediums into installations that express her interest in gender roles, culture, and migration.
In her fiber work, she utilizes stitch and embroidery to create tapestries that reference the migratory journeys of her family. These tapestries become abstract maps made that trace the time, labor, and nostalgia of these journeys. Other tapestries reflect her personal journey as a Latinx immigrant and the need for migratory reform in the United States.
In her performance work, she strives to evoke intimate feelings that cannot be described by words but are better expressed through movement. By using traditional Latinx dances in her performances, Moscoso questions gender roles in Hispanic culture. Engaging these fragile human states is the pivotal endeavor in her performance work.
Ultimately, her application of fiber, textiles and performance with physical environments has enabled her to create performative installations that empower the feminine presence and celebrate culture and migration.
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (Orlando)
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz is a nationally and internationally recognized, award winning interdisciplinary visual and performance artist. Her latest project, Pieta, debuted at the Knowles Memorial Chapel at Rollins College and was presented as part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s IDENTIFY: Performance as Portraiture series. She was awarded a 2017 UCF Luminary Award, 2016 Franklin Furnace award for performance, nominated for the prestigious 2016 United States Artist Fellowship, named one of UCF’s 2016 Woman Making History honoree by the University of Central Florida’s Center for Success of Women Faculty. She is was a 2016 Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition semifinalist, top ten finalist for the statewide 2015 Orlando Museum of Art Florida Prize in Contemporary Art, two time Joan Mitchell Foundation grant nominee, 2013 Creative Capital “On Our Radar” honorable mention, recipient of the 2011 UCF Keeper of the Creed Award in Creativity, MFA 2008 Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of Art Ralph Bunche Fellow, AAS 1998 Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture alum, 2002; Selected exhibitions include Project 35: Last Call, Garage Museum, Moscow, Russia, The Florida Prize in Contemporary Art, Orlando, FL 2015, Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain 2010, American Chambers, Gyeongnam Art Museum, Changwong City, South Korea, Performa 05 biennial, Artist Space, NY; The S Files 05 and Artist in the Marketplace 25, Bronx Museum of the Arts; Mercury/Mercurio, Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos; The L Factor, Exit Art, New York. Collections include The Orlando Museum of Art, FL, El Museo del Barrio, NY, Jersey City Museum of Art, NJ, and the private collection of Mr. Corey Baylor.
She currently teaches at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida.
Ellington Robinson (DC/Virgin Islands)
The reason why I paint is in pursuit to build self-awareness by immersing myself into the historical, critical, theoretical and processes of civilizations from the nascent stages of human existence. Although, the work embodies a large scope of time, the focus is a concentration on the migrations within the African Diaspora and how these movements interact with the world at large, the galaxy, then the universe; i.e. if one looks at the equatorial currents that were used to carry the ships across the middle passage, we have to look at the gravitational pull of the moon that allows for those currents to happen. We also will have to look at the creation of the moon 4.5 billion years ago. These steps in time allow for experiences to be in sequential order. My work attempts to stretch thought into this elastic capacity, from the Big Bang, to now. I want to understand how we came to be and how we are evolving as a result of global ideas, technology, and environment. The journey is to find who our ancestors are and the vital connections that link the 21st Century to the past.
Stacy Lynn Waddell (NC/NYC)
With a variety of transformative processes that include heat/laser technology, accumulation, embossing/debossing, interference and gilding, Stacy Lynn Waddell creates works that structure sites of intersection between both real and imagined aspects of history and culture. These points of intersection, pose important questions related to authorship, beauty and the persuasive power of nationalistic ideology.
After earning her MFA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007, her work has been recognized and exhibited nationally. Waddell has participated in exhibitions at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston Salem, NC, the John Hope Franklin Center, Franklin Humanities Institute and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, NC, the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA, Project Row Houses in Houston, TX, The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, On Stellar Rays in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), Columbia College (Chicago, IL), The Katzen Center at American University (Washington, DC), the Speed Art Museum (Louisville, Kentucky), and the Atlanta Contemporary (Atlanta, GA) among other venues.
Her work is included in several public and private collections that include The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Durham, NC), the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Greensboro, NC), The North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC), The Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, SC) and The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York) and most recently The Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum (New York) among others.
Waddell was named one of The New Superstars of Southern Art in Oxford American Magazine’s 2012 100 Under 100 List, is a 2012 recipient of an Art Matters Grant and a 2010 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. During Fall 2017, Waddell was an Artist-in-Residence at Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans).
Currently, she is in-residence at QueenSpace Residency in New York until 2019 and splits her time between North Carolina and New York.
Rhonda Wheatley (Chicago)
Rhonda Wheatley is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist, educator, and energy healer whose projects are grounded in the speculative and metaphysical. Through her sculptures, written works, paintings, workshops, and interactive performances she explores healing, consciousness expansion, and transformation.
Wheatley has had solo exhibitions at Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) and David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago with an upcoming solo show at the Aurora Public Arts Commission in Aurora, Illinois. She has participated in recent Chicago-area group shows at Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College, The Franklin, the 2017 Terrain Biennial, and The Donnelley Foundation, to name a few, as well as Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles and The Chicago 9 at the Prism Art Fair in Miami. Wheatley performed in the 2017 Chicago Home Theater Festival, at UIC’s Gallery 400, and more. And in the Spring of 2018, she will perform as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “In Progress” series. She’s facilitated healing and transformative workshops at Link’s Hall as part of the Eclipsing Festival, Chicago Artists Coalition’s (CAC) LAUNCH Residency, the Teaching Artist Summit, and other art spaces.
In 2017 Wheatley was the recipient of the CAC Maker Grant’s inaugural Coney
Family Award and a 3Arts Make a Wave Grant. Additionally, she is a Professor at Indiana University Purdue, Indianapolis and teaches several youth and adult classes at HPAC. Wheatley earned a BA in English Literature with a minor in African American Studies from Loyola University, Chicago and an MA in Writing from DePaul University.
I ♥ 3RD WARD
November 16, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Art League Houston (ALH) is proud to present I ♥ 3rd Ward, a photo, video, and soundscape exhibition by Marc Newsome. The exhibition features a series of documentary style photographs depicting 3rd Ward, a historically African American neighborhood located in Houston, Texas, which having been a longtime epicenter of Black American life, culture, commerce, and existence, has become subject to the forces of rapid gentrification, causing shifts in the economic, geographic, and racial landscape.
Many of the locations depicted in the photographs have changed due to updates in the area. Even through the duration of this exhibition, many 3rd Ward structures formally existing for decades will be subject to development, and no longer exist as they have been previously known. Each photograph in the exhibition has been printed on metal to reinforce the idea of a permanent existence, despite the many permutations each location has seen before.
In addition to the exhibition, the artist will be screening episodes of his I ♥ 3 W web series, consisting of short interviews chronicling people’s thoughts on the changes in the 3rd Ward area. The artist will also screen his award winning 2008 film “Here Comes the Neighborhood – A Gentrification Comedy”, a five-minute short film that satirically discusses the different aspects of gentrification by examining taxes, real estate developers, overvalued properties and how all this affects residents of a historically African American neighborhood. There will also be ambient soundscapes played of recorded sounds unique to 3rd Ward.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Marc Newsome is multi-disciplinary artist based in Houston, TX. Known by his artist moniker ‘Marc Furi’, Newsome works in photography, documentary filmmaking, sound scapes, graphic design, and social practice. His creative projects stem from his philosophy of exploring the profundity of scenes taken for granted.
He is a recent recipient of 3 grants via the City of Houston and Houston Arts Alliance for documentary work including TreSonik-3rd Ward Audio Anthropology, a web series chronicling what people love about 3rd Ward, and the life of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman legendary head coach of the Texas Southern University Debate Team. In addition, he was one of 3 ambassadors for the 3rd Ward art payphone project known as Trephonos, a project which explores the ambient noises of 3rd Ward through a payphone’s keypad.
Newsome currently explores the emotions that arise from gazing upon the dissolving landscape scenes of the gentrified 3rd Ward area of Houston, TX.
Exhibition Dates: November 16, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Art League Houston is excited to present Data Breach, an outdoor installation by Susannah Mira. The installation incorporates thousands of discarded sheets of microfiche film, creating a physical metaphor reflecting the millions of information disclosures shaping our world today. As with the artists’ overall body of work, Data Breach utilizes salvaged materials, which in this case, includes records of congressional documents de-accessioned from a library during migration to digital access.
Placed in an outdoor context, the pieces assimilate into the environment of the Art League Houston sculpture garden. The work literally places data carriers in the same context as nature, commenting on the pervasiveness of information technology and the information economy in our everyday lives. In addition, the work expresses how quickly methods of saving information change, keeping in mind that microfiche was considered the archival standard in preserving information until quite recently.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Susannah Mira earned a master’s degree in Environmental Art at Aalto University in 2008, however, she considers her experiential education, gained by living and working on handmade shelter in the American West just as important. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, and has been awarded close to two dozen artist residencies throughout North America, including opportunities at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and with Signal Fire. Born in San Francisco and raised in a nondescript Philadelphia suburb, she has been based in Houston since 2013, where she maintains a studio at Box 13.