What do artists Nina Chanel Abney, Nick Cave, Rashid Johnson, Rodney McMillian, Gary Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Shinique Smith, Henry Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems have in common? They are all widely acknowledged as top contemporary American artists, all African American, and each artist’s work is included in the seminal Rubell Family collection, 30 Americans, currently on view locally at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. But there is another connection. This group of artists also recently assisted Contemporary Wing in selecting the exhibitors featured in its debut show in D.C. entitled, NEXT GENERATION: Selections by Artists from the 30 Americans Collection. Contemporary Wing asked the artists to provide one or two names of emerging and mid-career, contemporary American artists who, in their opinion, best represent the “next generation” of artists who have the potential to define the American landscape in the next decade.
The result is a fabulous group of artists working in a broad range of media, including photography, painting, sculpture, installation, textiles, drawing, light and new media, as well as works that combine or hover between these media. The twelve participating artists in NEXT GENERATION are: Derrick Adams, Kajahl Benes, Caitlin Cherry, Sonya Clark, Alex Ernst, Wyatt Gallery, Kira Lynn Harris, David Huffman, Jason Keeling, Karyn Olivier, Gary Pennock, and Cheryl Pope.
NEXT GENERATION runs from February 4 until March 10, 2012, Tuesday through Saturday from 11-6 p.m. The preview is Friday, February 3, from 6-9 p.m., and the public opening is on Saturday, February 4, from 6-9 p.m. The artists and Kalia Brooks, who critiqued the work for the exhibition catalog, will be present at both private and public openings. Because of the scale of the works, the show is being held at an alternative site, at 1250 9th Street, N.W, in Washington, D.C. NEXT GENERATION promises to present dynamic work of the highest quality that is changing the face of contemporary art, some of which deals directly with issues of race and diversity, and some with social and aesthetic questions more broadly.
A catalog will accompany the exhibition with critiques by Kalia Brooks, Exhibitions Director at MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) in Brooklyn, NY.
The gallery is open by appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 730-5037
Derrick Adams is a New York-based artist who is interested in how perceptions and ideals attach to objects, colors, shapes and materials especially in the built environment. A recurring theme in his work is the relationship between man and monument.
Kajahl Benes is a painter from Santa Cruz, California, who lives and works in New York City. Benes creates large-scale paintings of figures incorporating divergent cultural symbols as well as ancient and contemporary signifiers within each work.
Caitlin Cherry is a painter and installation artist from Chicago, Illinois who lives and works in New York City. In her abstracted self-portraits, she replaces her own figure with an avatar to compelling effect. Most of her paintings are connected to, or held by, found objects that further engage the themes of her work.
Sonya Clark is an installation, fiber, and textile artist based in Richmond, Virginia. She explores the social significance of hair with regard to race and assimilation and related notions of beauty. Using the thin-toothed black combs found in any barber shop, and in some cases, thread, and hair foil, she creates sculptures and tapestries of rapturous form and color.
Alex Ernst is a New York-based sculptor who uses wood, string, and rudimentary tools requiring only the power of her effort. Her process is intentionally stripped down, leaving form, the inherent beauty of materials, and a record of her impact upon them.
Wyatt Gallery is a photographer who often documents humanitarian crises. This body of work, Tent Life: Haiti, is a series of photographs taken after the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010.
Kira Lynn Harris was born and raised in Los Angeles, and currently works in Harlem, New York. She is a multi-media artist interested in light, space, and perception. Her installations destabilize perception in order to reveal a new orientation.
David Huffman is an abstract painter based in Oakland, California. His works are an amalgam of the formal concerns of abstract painting and social identity.
Jayson Keeling is a New York-based artist whose works evoke an ominous glamour. He uses glitter on canvas to portray skeletons or nuclear explosions, and the tension created by disjunction in form and content draws the viewer to his work.
Karyn Olivier was born in Trinidad and Tobago and works currently in Brooklyn, New York. Olivier often uses playground elements in her work, since the playground is where children learn about isolation and socialization. Olivier also favors the repetition of identical forms–twin dilapidated houses or multiple tether balls–to transform banal elements into works of art.
Gary Pennock is a Brooklyn-based artist who works primarily with light, sound, and video projection. With titles like “A Line Through the Center of Space,” and “Across the Stillness of Time,” Pennock transports viewers virtually to another dimension. Beauty is a chief concern in his work.
Cheryl Pope is a multi-disciplinary artist who incorporates collaboration and community into her process. She is showing work from her “Hoop Dreams” series that is based on conversations with African American youth, many of whom expressed the belief–remarkably, to this day–that professional basketball is the only future open to them.
Contemporary Wing would like to extend a special thanks to CAS Riegler and City Interests for their generosity