New York, NY… The West Harlem Art Fund is pleased to present their new exhibition WE ARE IN REACH on Governors Island in the historic district of Nolan Park. The show is open now through June 25, 2021 for the public. According to Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director of the West Harlem Art Fund, "The past year allowed the world to reconnect to family, heritage, language and tradition in new ways and to appreciate those times even more. And as we look at human existence, it all began in Africa. WE ARE IN REACH looks at how those of African descent honor memory, philosophy and tradition." Works that the public will see are described below. There will also be African antiquities on loan by the midtown gallery Throckmorton Fine Arts on East 57th Street.
“Descension” and “Genesis” are from the artist “Bloodline” series. This series is an original creation myth narrative by Dario Mohr loosely inspired by the mother of the Earth (Gaia), The Bible, as well Homo Deus (A book by Yuval Harari). In this narrative, the story begins with the Black mother of nature and humanity sitting atop her Acacia tree throne, providing lifeblood to her organic children. Due to the treachery and defiance of her creation, a new breed of human upgrades (self genetically mutated super humans) turn on her in hopes to claim her throne and possess her powers of immortality and dominion over the Earth. Their greed blinds them from the inevitable fate of their destruction, while Gaia's retreats to slowly replenish herself in the ocean to soon recover the Earth's lushness and vitality. As she does so, Gaia learned not to make herself visible for all of her creation to see, but to reside tucked away inside her acreage like a farmer (in the ocean) as a scarecrow body keeps her rogue creations away.
Strangest of Fruits by Kraig Blue is inspired by the Billie Holiday song “Strange Fruit” and the original poem “Bitter Fruit” by Abel Meeropol.
The sculpture exists as a requiem for past and present lynching atrocities in America. Currently, within the last decade there have been mysterious lynching’s/suicides of black and brown men across the country, not reported in main stream media, but happening none-the-less. As with Miss Holiday and Mr. Meeropol, I am deeply saddened.
The sculpture incorporates unrelated objects forming a free standing assemblage that speaks to the phallic nature of white brutality committed against black men, intertwined with the history of corporatized slavery. Each object is a metaphor for the physical act of lynching.
From the Flesh, To the Spirit is the intersection of composition and improvisation. Her work considers the impermanent, imperfect, and unconventional. Call and response, repetition, rhythm, and concealment are foundational to my artistic practice. She finds and create opportunities for juxtaposition and have learned to embrace chance in my work. Reflecting upon the primordial shapes - the circle, triangle, and square contemplates the variety of life inspired by indigenous cultures and vernacular architecture. Fragility and strength are the dichotomy I rely upon to express movement and stillness as one. Trees, text, and textiles are my main media, and through my work I seek healing for myself and others.
From the Flesh, To the Spirit, is part of a series illustrating the love Black people have for ourselves and for each other, in a very direct way. Employing traditional African waxed cotton on a ritualized black bedsheet, the dramatic fabric is hand cut to highlight and emphasize color, shape and pattern, which then serve as marks (or brushstrokes) that design abstract body forms presented in a mosaic style. Inspired by Faith Ringgold’s story quilts and Jack Whitten’s tessera paintings, From the Flesh, To the Spirit is a complex yet minimal installation: quietly, from unexpected places in the room, the painting and the bedframe converse with strong contrast and gentle alignment.
Regatta III/8 Candy Blue & Teal, is a dynamic construction of welded and rolled aluminum, in which elegant curved surfaces rise 8 feet upward toward the sky. The intersecting planes energize negative and positive spaces around and within the sculpture. The carefully crafted steel plates are painted in a spectrum of vivid blues, creating an ambience that reflects the light and energy of the day or night.
Like in his other series of sculptures, he drew his inspiration from nature and natural formations. Learning to sail as a teenager, Gil developed a love of the sea and sailboats and both have become very instrumental in his sculptures.
Gil believes that three-dimensional art should be handled, touched, and experienced in three dimensions. He wants people to not only view his art, but touch and explore it. His work is accessible and meant to be interacted with and explored in total freedom
Garden Sentinels - The essence of Michele Brody's work is to understand how we live with change and the constant flux of our environment. Working with the anthropological notion of the Limen the threshold through which one passes at the starting point for a new state or experience, she concentrates on creating a mark, which invites the viewer to a more openness of sensation through the production of site-generated walkways, public art, ephemeral installations and living sculptures with such materials as: glass, concrete, steel, copper pipe, fabric, light, water and growing plants.