First Floor

Rooted Movements
Erika Ranee
Jeannette Ehlers
Jonathan Calm
Nikita Gale
Sara Blokland

July 1, 2014 - August 1, 2014

Rooted Movements
Group show; Sara Blokland, Jonathan Calm, Jeannette Ehlers, Nikita Gale, Erika Ranee

July 1 – August 1, 2014
Walkthrough with Jonathan Calm and Erika Ranee
July 23, 7-9 pm

LMAKprojects 139 Eldridge street, btw Broome and Delancey
Please note our summer hours: Tuesday to Friday 12-6 pm

Rooted Movements is a group exhibition of contemporary artists of color examining the complexities of racial identity in the 21st century. Within our society of dichotomies these artists cannot approach their work merely as individuals without the burden of our societal perceptions, biases and pressures the exhibited works refine and challenge. Race still matters, and these artists flesh out its inherently fragmented relevance as a marker of difference across multiple sensibilities and discourses – male/female, European/American, post-colonial/millennial, narrative/iconic, symbolic/material, historical/personal. The exhibit features work by Sara Blokland, Jonathan Calm, Jeannette Ehlers, Nikita Gale, and Erika Ranee.

Sara Blokland (NL) is a visual artist predominately working with photography. In her work she reflects on the complicated role of this medium in relation to the histories of individuals, the concept of ‘family’ and culture heritage. In Rooted Movements she exhibits black and white photographs from her recent series titled Play, which is a literal observation into the world of child play of her now four year old son as he grows into his own identity. The photo’s shows traces of child logic and fantasy. The series started out on Facebook as Blokland wanted to share images of her child’s live to her friends but at the same time protect his identity and sense of self from the social media . Blokland photographs taken with great care and strict cropped compositions, show the same intensity, just as her son put into his structures . The photos in the exhibit are a selection of an ongoing ‘collaboration’. Play is a comment on the visual display of those who are unaware of what happens to the images which identifies them and instead wants to show the visuals traces of a child actions in an attempt to represent his identity.

Jonathan Calm (US) will show two works from different stages in his career. Scudder Towers Down (after Scudder Homes, Newark, NJ) (2008) is a video installation that shows looped footage of the demolition of a landmark public housing project and evokes a historical trajectory of urban planning gone wrong. The architectural stack of 1980s wood panel television sets that frame the imagery create an effect of nostalgia that dovetails with anxious anticipation of things to come in a vision of the American inner city as self-perpetuating dystopia. In After Whitney, (2014) Calm deftly asserts that every representation of blackness is a construct, as he uses deep contrast to transform the late, great performer Whitney Houston into a counterpoint of her media-made, white-washed diva iconicity – a mysterious, exotic, pagan black deity. The image exudes irony by restoring Whitney to the blackness of her Newark roots, from which she rose to crossover superstardom, and which mainstream pop culture never felt comfortable embracing.

Jeannette Ehlers (DK) video Black Magic at the White House brings focus on an untold chapter in Danish history: its intensive participation in the slave trade and colonialism. Through a digitally manipulated video, she puts under the microscope the Danish triangular trade across the Atlantic between Denmark, the Caribbean and the Gold Coast. In the video Ehlers performs a voodoo dance in Marienborg which was built as a summer residence of Commander Olfert Fischer and later owned by several others of the period’s trading men who created a great deal of wealth from the slave and sugar trade. Today Marienborg still plays an important role in Denmark, in terms of its position as the official residence of the country’s prime minister. The video is a poetic presentation that in part serves as documentary as well as a reflection and memory of the Danish slave trade.

Nikita Gale (US) became interested in the brief but significant cameos of characters of color that began to emerge in Jean-Luc Godard films after 1965, a year after the American Civil Rights Movement. She also was intrigued by Godard’s use of the camera as a method of creating tension between the activities of looking and watching by the viewer. In this black and white video we see the artist groom herself while a transcript of the soundtrack and the artist’s activity are laid over one another. As the artist finishes her ‘look’ she has become aware of the stare and in turn confronts the viewer with her gaze as we become the one being watched. This video explores the relationships between black and female subjectivity, translation and history.

Erika Ranee (US) builds abstract paintings layered with the detritus of daily life. Each work becomes a push and pull of materials and techniques that are polar opposites from one another. This often results in a full awareness of a painting that challenges its own limits, like dichotomies unfolding and serving as a reflection of the unpredictable, hyper-kinetic urban environment—a subject matter in constant flux. The paintings reflect the cacophony of city life, usually displayed in fragmented narrative text scrawls embedded in paint and shellac. Every layer is considered, even when erased or obscured, to capture a moment from the past at once forgotten or temporarily repressed from memory.

For additional information or images please contact the gallery.