Subversive Media: Materiality & Power
Opens June 3, 2022 on view through July 22, 2022
Second Street Gallery is pleased to present Subversive Media: Materiality and Power. The exhibition opens on Friday, June 3, 2022 from 5:30 - 7:30PM. Several exhibiting artists from the group exhibition will be present at the opening to chat with visitors.
Subversive Media: Materiality and Power posits that the often overlooked component of our visual language - materiality - plays a critical role in the representation of power. The 10 exhibiting artists creatively reconstruct our visual language through the articulation of material, underscoring the agency that compositional elements hold in supporting and disrupting our understanding of power.
Each artist confronts images freighted with reminders of systemic injustice, ranging from the more explicit, like the American flag and Ku Klux Klan hoods, to the seemingly innocuous, including textbooks and football gear. Not only do the artists reveal the ubiquity and various manifestations of power in our daily lives, but their critical approaches to materiality importantly underline the ways materials contribute to perceptions of power.
With each work, the artists subvert, question, and blur the power evoked from both the image and its formal make-up. Sandy Williams IV, for instance, substitutes traditionally championed media, like bronze for wax, to undermine public monuments’ evocations of power. Others, including Jamal Cryus and Dyani White Hawk, apply materials and techniques reflective of their identity to reclaim the historical presence of their respective community. Cyrus uses denim, symbolic of African American textile traditions and uniforms of Black civil rights protesters, to reconstruct redacted FBI files on Black activists, honoring both the individual and Black resiliency. Artists like Sonya Clark and jc lenochan rely on the connotations of certain material, especially when placed in relation to a fraught image. Clark applies Sherwin Williams’ white paint “Storyteller” to the American flag to punctuate white privilege in the authorship of American history, while lenochan uses chalk in his drawings of academia to nod to whitewashed pedagogies.
This exhibition is Season 48 Call for Submissions pick and was organized under the direction of Kristen Chiacchia, Executive Director & Chief Curator of Second Street Gallery. The exhibition is generously sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and an Enriching Communities grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF). Second Street Gallery and Haley Clouser are also grateful to all exhibiting artists as well as the following lenders to the exhibition: Bockley Gallery, Jessica Arb Danial, Froelick Gallery, Galerie Lelong & Co., Lisa Sette Gallery, and Inman Gallery. Second Street Gallery’s exhibition season is supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Second Street Gallery
115 Second Street SE
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Wednesday - Friday, 11 - 5PM
Saturday, 10 - 4PM