Everson Museum of Art Announces New Acquisitions by Contemporary Artists: Shinique Smtih, Sharif Bey, Ellen Blalock, Courtney Leonard, Ellen Lesperance, Dawn Williams Boyd
Posted on: 2021-01-06 11:53:00
Shinique Smith (b.1971) is widely known for employing clothing, textiles, and objects—"belongings"—to construct sculptures, paintings, and site-specific installations that speak to consumerism, displacement, shelter, and sanctuary. Bale Variant No. 0021 (Christmas) (2011-2017) is a major sculpture by the Los Angeles-based artist and was recently exhibited in Smith's solo show at the California African American Museum. Her work is included in the collections of several significant museums, including, among others, the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Newark Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Sharif Bey (b.1974), a nationally-recognized ceramic artist and educator who lives in Syracuse, is represented by a key work, Protest Shield #2 (2020), from a current series of tribal shields. Mixing Black Power iconography with traditional African motifs, Bey's shields are complex and powerful symbols of the ongoing fight for racial equality. Bey has participated in many artist-in-residencies and fellowships to hone his craft, and is included in numerous public collections including: The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, Washington DC; the Columbus Museum of Art, OH; and the United States Embassies of Khartoum, Sudan; Kampala, Uganda; and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Two quilts span two decades of the career of Syracuse-based artist Ellen Blalock (b.1958). Mary, from The Family Album: The Quilt Series (2000), one of the first picture quilts Blalock ever made, is paean to her great-great-grandmother, while one of her most recent quilts, Bang Bang, You Dead! (2018), points to the real-life dangers disguised within childhood games. Blalock’s work was first exhibited at the Everson in 2012 with her series “CAGE.” It addressed homicide and incarceration in the Syracuse African American community while serving as a memorial for victims and their families. Blalock has shown her work at ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse, LightWork in Syracuse, and the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, among other institutions.
Breach #2 (2016) is a landmark component of artist Courtney Leonard’s (b.1980) longstanding investigation into broken promises and ecological issues that affect her native Shinnecock nation. This shipping pallet of ceramic whale teeth references the number of teeth from an adult sperm whale, conceptually relating to an abundance of material, access, environmental sustainability, and cultural viability. Leonard’s work has greatly contributed to the Offshore Art Movement and explores historical and communal connections to water and material sustainability. Leonard's work is in the permanent collections of the United States Art In Embassies, Crocker Art Museum, Heard Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art among others.
Portland-based Ellen Lesperance (b.1971), a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, is represented by Black Gloves Gods Eyes, a meticulously painted gouache and graphite work on paper from 2019. Taking the form of a knitting pattern, the painting is an abstract interpretation of clothing worn by women activists. Lesperance’s ongoing project called “Congratulations and Celebrations” was inspired by her in-depth research of the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, a series of protest camps established to protest nuclear weapons being placed at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. Lesperance’s works are included in the collections of, among others, Baltimore Museum of Art, Frye Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Portland Art Museum, and Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
Waiting For Medgar is a "cloth painting" from 2004 by Atlanta-based Dawn Williams Boyd (b.1952). The striking work is nearly 8 feet tall and depicts white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith, who shot and killed Civil Rights Activist Medgar Evers outside his home in Mississippi in 1963. Williams’ work is rooted in social commentary inspired by family, everyday life, and current events. Her work is included in the collections of The Columbus Museum in Georgia, and the Richardson Family Art Museum at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.