A Virtual Exhibition
July 10 – August 31, 2023
Contemporary Art Matters is proud to present Summertime 2023: A Virtual Exhibition, a group show featuring work from artists Solomon Adu, Daina Higgins, Molly Larkey, and Bruce Robinson. The exhibition includes a variety of media and features a mixture of themes including sustainability, displacement, alchemy and traditional Black folklore. The exhibition will be live on contemporaryartmatters.com and Artsy from July 10th through August 31st.
left: Solomon Adu, Qwaku Black (Abotere), 2023 Ballpoint pen on discarded vinyl banners with stitching, 36 x 29½ in.
right: Solomon Adu, Uprising Smile, 2023, Ballpoint pen on discarded vinyl banners with stitching, 33½ x 31¼ in.
Solomon Adu is a young artist based in Accra, Ghana. While apprenticing under internationally recognized artist Rufai Zakari, Adu began his own mixed media practice with pen and ink, collage, stitching, and discarded vinyl banners. Adu’s images borrow from pop culture, history, and the happenings in his local community, where he simultaneously highlights the past lives of his materials as well as their future in the discarded signage he works with. Adu’s process of stitching recycled vinyl and then drawing in pen and ink adds layers of media to his works that link specific faces from Ghana to a universal theme of cultural achievement and uplifting energies. The bright, contrasting colors of the recycled vinyl and stitching connects the viewer to a pervasive feeling of youth. In his piece, Uprising Smile, Solomon has collaged a smiling young figure in front of a shining, halo-like sun atop a green background. Adu achieves a flattened depth of field by the thoughtful combination of the subject and vinyl lettering. In Adu’s work Oties, a lone man wearing a cowboy hat gazes downward atop a red and white stitched background. A bright green-blue vinyl makes up the cowboy’s hat and jeans, contrasting with the shadowed white of his shirt.
Daina Higgins is a New York based artist who uses oil, spray paint and acrylic to explore themes of the home and displacement. Her most recent series, Letters to Home, includes scaled-up representations of notepad drawings that depict her own personal memories, family stories and research, along with the causes and effects of being displaced. In her painting Dual Citizen, Higgins “highlights the possibilities and anxieties of being a dual passport holder, with the passport symbolizing a temporary shelter amid a tangle of menacing and beautiful weeds. The seeds of the dandelion are carried by the wind, referring to the varied migration patterns of the Lithuanian diaspora.” The painting contrasts inky blues with bright fluorescents that brings the scene to life. While Higgins explores personal themes, she simultaneously creates a sense of ambiguity in this series, compelling each viewer to relate their own experiences to her work. From Europe to the Technicolor World is a diptych painting representing the migration of her family from Lithuania to the United States. The grainy, stenciled look of the ship contrasts with the deep blue ocean waves tipped with fluorescents, creating a near reflective effect on the canvas.
Molly Larkey is a Los Angeles based sculptor and writer. In their latest sculpture series, Larkey looks into the medieval practice of alchemy as a science, while also exploring the “tensions, potentiality, and poetry inherent in the alchemical exploration of materiality in art and life.” In these sculptures, Larkey uses distinctive materials such as steel, stucco, and zinc coating to approach the different phases of the alchemical practice, drawing on themes such as transformation, tension, and the balance between the seen and unseen. In their piece, A Seed, A Spark, Larkey explores the first, ‘zero’ stage of the alchemical process, where the material has not begun its transformation. The fuschia metallic sculpture balances rings representing the ‘0’ shape that explodes outward in all directions, precisely balancing between flux and stasis. The next stage in the alchemical process is represented in Larkey’s One 1 and One 4. Both of these steel sculptures take on a geometric structure that represents the rigidity of material and design. One 4 is a teal metal screen that combines different shapes into one coherent framework.
Bruce Robinson is a Columbus based artist and Professor Emeritus at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Known for his rich and varied artistic practice, Robinson fuses painting, sculpture, and drawing into assemblages that acknowledge the struggles of Black history in the United States while celebrating Black resilience, endurance, and triumph. Robinson’s recent assemblage Breakaway developed from his artistic response to recited narrative poems from traditional Black folklore called toasts. In this carved plywood and oil work the artist creates a harrowing scene with the heroic protagonist Shine as he narrowly escapes the jaws of a shark. The assemblage includes collages for the faces of Richard Pryor and Frederick Douglass, while the teeth of the shark read ‘Yo ass is mine.’