Exhibition - Packaged Black: Derrick Adams and Barbara Earl Thomas
Date(s) - 02/03/2022
Henry Art Gallery
Packaged Black brings together the work of artists Derrick Adams (b. 1970, Baltimore, MD) and Barbara Earl Thomas (b. 1948, Seattle, WA) in a collaborative, multi-media installation developed from their shared dialogue about representation, Black identity, and practices of cultural resistance. This exhibition is a synthesis of a multi-year, intergenerational, and cross-country exchange between New York-based Adams and Seattle-based Thomas that began after the two artists exhibited work alongside each other in a group show at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2017.
Adams’s work in Packaged Black engages the relationship between Black culture and commerce that is core to his practice, alongside the ways fashion and self-styling communicate identity. Among the works included are large, striking collages and sculptures inspired by his ongoing research into the life and legacy of influential African-American designer Patrick Kelly (1954–1990). Other works take inspiration from the way hair salons and wig designs shape self-image in the Black community. In complement, Thomas, who often works in printmaking, glass, drawing, and monumental sculptures made from intricately cut Tyvek and paper, translates contemporary realities and lived experience through the visual language of myth and archetypal stories. For her project at the Henry, Thomas draws upon the role of media and fairytales in shaping social expectations and her own conception of self. She is presenting all new work, including an immersive installation conceived as a ‘transformation room’ and a series of new cut-paper portraits of friends and colleagues that riff on the concept of the royal court. Adams and Thomas’s work intermingles across multiple galleries, creating an exhibition that forms an interconnected constellation of relationships that span time and place, and celebrates the creative imagination, adaptation, and resilience of Black communities.
A brochure with a conversation between the artists, alongside studio images and installation images, will accompany the exhibition.
Exhibition Dates: October 02, 2021 — May 01, 2022.
Location: Upper-Level Galleries
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