As interest in creating alternative narratives of varying measure grows, ‘truth’, as it relates to reality, has become an inconvenient impediment for a progression of agendas. The truth, becoming all the more elusive, has since become the most powerful course correction to date. In this exhibition an expression of truth is appealed to: it is witnessed, it is allowed for, it is resolved through the object. Each artist in this exhibition has unceasingly examined truth, (that being the reality of historical events and the social conditions as demanded by these actions, and how those points intersect to inform our present moment), for themselves and others, as central to their practice.
In 1967, Raymond Saunders declared “black is a color.” Throughout his career Saunders has questioned the premise that Black artists produce something that should be uniquely identified as “Black art.” In his own work, he looked to separate his practice from the restrictions of identity-driven art “I am an artist. I do not believe that art work should be limited or categorized by one’s racial background.” Featured in this exhibition is a single french door assemblage by Saunders from the 1990s. The significance of a door, as entry way or barrier, has been seen in many of Saunders’s assemblage works over the decades, as a canvas for his assemblage works and paintings.
Through painting, drawing and sculptural installation, Libby Black’s work explores the course of her personal history and broader cultural context, examining the intersection of feminism, LGBTQ+ identity, politics, consumerism, notions of value, and desire. In these recent drawings, Black has replicated portions of recent features published in the New York Times related to the #MeToo movement and the protests over the Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford hearings in 2018.
Cameron Clayborn approaches the history of trauma, its weight and sharp corners, with a tactile exploration through the physical object. As a conceptual sculptor, designer, performance artist, and community organizer, Clayborn creates sculpture that spans the distance between a viewer’s private headspace and the civic sphere. Working with a sewing machine, Clayborn’s sculptures, grouped together titled ‘coagulates’, combines an artistic lineage of queer history, from drag shows to protest banners, zipped through this mechanical lens. Using elements that impose tension (zipper, the physical weight of sand) Clayborn’s sculptures exist within an emotional history searching for liberation. These disembodied sacks that derive their forms via measurements taken off the bodies of the artist and his father—an abstraction of self and lineage into a collection of handsomely constructed objects highlight the intersections he stands in as gay black man raised in the American south. Inherently sexual and playful but also deeply serious, Clayborn’s works taunt the rigid dichotomies of male/female, gay/straight, human/inhuman, and valued/undervalued.
Suné Woods examines absences and vulnerabilities within cultural and social histories through visuals, sound and movement, and is interested in how language is emoted, guarded, and translated through the absence/presence of a physical body. On view, an early work by Woods, ‘From Here We Go Nowhere’ (2015) contains hundreds of color pages from travel catalogues and magazines, each individual page worn and creased. The collage explores the social phenomena that indoctrinate brutality and the ways in which propaganda and exploitation have employed photography. The freedom of collage allows Woods to consider a new topography all together, while addressing perception-based ‘truths’ as separate from reality.
Through portraits, landscapes, and collaborative works, Jim Goldberg’s expansive Open See follows refugee and immigrant populations traveling from war-torn, economically devastated, and often AIDS-ravaged countries, to make new homes in Europe. The photographer spent four years documenting the stories of refugees in over 18 countries, from Russia and the Middle East to Asia and Africa. To convey a “more in-depth understanding” of the people he was working with, he tapped into a practice he had developed while in graduate school: hand finishing photographs, and including handwriting to tell the stories of his subjects, making each a unique object encapsulating a story.
Raymond Saunders (lives and works in Oakland, CA) is part of collections including the Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center. Other collections he is included in are the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor (San Francisco, California), Bank of America (San Francisco, California), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, California), Hunter College (New York, New York), Howard University (Washington, D.C.), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, New York), the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum (San Francisco, California), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, California), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, New York), the Oakland Museum of California (Oakland, California), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, California), the Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley, California), the Walker Art Center, (Minneapolis, Minnesota), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, New York).
Libby Black is a painter, drawer, and sculptural installation artist living in Berkeley, CA. Her artwork charts a path through personal history and a broader cultural context to explore the intersection of politics, feminism, LGBTQ+ identity, consumerism, addiction, notions of value, and desire. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, with such shows as “California Love” at Galerie Droste in Wupertal, Germany; “Bay Area Now 4” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; “California Biennial” at the Orange County Museum of Art; and at numerous galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Black has been an artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA; Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA; and Spaces in Cleveland, OH. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, ARTnews, Flash Art, and The New York Times. She received a BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art in 1999 and an MFA at the California College of the Arts in 2001. Libby is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University.
Cameron Clayborn was raised in Memphis, TN and lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. In 2016, Clayborn received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, and in 2018 attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Recent exhibitions include Ralph Arnold Gallery at Loyola University, Chicago, IL (2019); Fat City, Chicago, IL (2019); Heaven Gallery, Chicago, IL (2019); Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL (2018); Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, IL (2018); Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL (2018); Bawdy (solo), Boyfriends, Chicago, IL (2017); Rover Gallery, Chicago, IL (2017); Lawrence & Clark Gallery, Chicago, IL (2017); and Tritriangle, Chicago, IL (2016).
Suné Woods (b. Montréal, Canada, works in Los Angeles). Woods received her BFA from University of Miami, in 1997, and MFA from California College of the Arts, in 2010. Most recently Woods was featured in Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018). Her work has been included in exhibitions at Light Work, Syracuse, New York (2017); Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York (2017); Urban Video Project, Syracuse, New York (2017); Papillion Art, Los Angeles (2015, 2014); Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles (2015); 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, California (2012); Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, Los Angeles (2012); Performance Art Institute, San Francisco (2011); and Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco (2009), among others. She has had residencies at Light Work (2016), Center for Photography at Woodstock (2015), Vermont Studio Center (2014), and Headlands Center for the Arts (2012). She is a recipient of the Artadia Award (2020), a John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award from the San Francisco Foundation (2015), Visions from the New California Award from the James Irvine Foundation (2012), and Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship (2009).
Jim Goldberg has exhibited widely, including shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; SFMOMA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Yale University Art Gallery. His work is also regularly featured in group exhibitions around the world. Public collections including MoMA, SFMOMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Getty, the National Gallery, LACMA, MFA Boston, The High Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Library of Congress, MFA Houston, National Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Goldberg has received three National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships in Photography, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, among many other honors and grants.