Allison Janae Hamilton + Hank Willis Thomas
Contemporary Art Matters is excited to include Allison Janae Hamilton and Hank Willis Thomas in SCULPTURE I.
Contemporary Art Matters is pleased to present Sculpture I, a group exhibition featuring Bianca Beck, Gerhard Demetz, Curtis Fairman, Brendan Fernandes, Pamela Fraser, Jonathan Hammer, Allison Janae Hamilton, Kurt Lightner, Bruce Robinson and Almond Zigmund, open February 18th – April 15, 2021. We’ve spent the last year collecting works by ten international contemporary sculptors who work in different traditions using a myriad of materials including wood, ceramic, assemblage, papier-mâché and found plastics. Sculpture I allows us to look at sculpture in a broad sense, examining idea threads of what you see in contemporary art today.
Allison Janae Hamilton is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, photography, and video. Her work often incorporates natural materials such as reclaimed wood, animal hides, and feathers. Hamilton fuses land-centered folklore and personal family narratives into haunting yet epic mythologies that address the social and political concerns of today’s changing Southern terrain, including land loss, environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability. The artist’s commitment to the land is driven by her own migrations, from Kentucky, where she was born, to Florida, where she grew up, to rural Tennessee, the location of her maternal family’s homestead, and to New York, where she currently lives. Hamilton’s work connects the physicality of the landscape with the lived experience it carries, positioning landscape as critical to understanding both history and contemporary culture.
Allison Janae Hamilton has exhibited widely across the U.S. and abroad. Her work as been the subject of solo exhibitions at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams, MA (2018) and Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA (2018). She has further been featured in group presentations at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY; the Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; the Jewish Museum, New York, NY; and the Istanbul Design Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey. Hamilton has also participated in a range of fellowships and residencies, including with the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York, NY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; and Fundación Botín; Santander, Spain. She is the recipient of the Creative Capital Award and the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant. Hamilton holds a PhD in American Studies from New York University and an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. She lives and works in New York.
(Biography courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery)
Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, Plainfield, NJ; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.
His work often incorporates widely-recognizable icons—many from well-known advertising or branding campaigns—to explore their ability to reinforce generalizations developed around race, gender and ethnicity. Thomas created one of his most iconic photography series in 2006, B®anded, where he superimposed bodies of Black men with the Nike swoosh logo recalling the history of branding slaves in America as well as the literal and figural objectification of Black male bodies in contemporary culture.
A trained photographer, over the past several years, Thomas’ practice has evolved to incorporate a variety of media including mirrors and retroreflective vinyl —an industrial material rarely used in the arts—to challenge perspectives in his work, exploring 20th century protest images and often overlooked historical narratives. Many of these protest images are activated by flash photography playing with role reversal by having the viewer step into the position of image maker. By adding multiple, hidden layers, Thomas also asks the view to consider who is included in history and who is erased, revealing the complicated nature of storytelling and the bias of history. Influenced by social history and the hard-fought, perennial battle for equality in all areas of his work, Thomas co-founded For Freedoms with artist Eric Gottesman in 2016 as a platform for creative civic engagement in America. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms uses art to encourage and deepen public explorations of freedom in the 21st century.
His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.
(Biography courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery)