Wiphala in the paint, 2014
Mixed media on paper
38 x 38 in
Courtesy the Artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York © 2023 Ronny Quevedo
Library Street Collective's 2023 iteration of Public Matter: New Forms is curated by Allison Glenn and is organized on occasion of Gary Tyler: We Are the Willing. Public Matter: New Forms opens on Saturday, July 8th, 2023 from 7-9pm in the Belt alley and features artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Carole Harris, Lonnie Holley, Ashley Hunt, Jared Owens, and Ronny Quevedo.
By fraying, ripping, burning, and sewing textiles, fiber artist Carole Harris’ colorful, layered compositions expand traditional notions of quilt-making. Evidence (2014) is from Mapping Time, Place, and Memory, an ongoing series where Harris relies on scratches, marks, imprints, and other changes to the surface of materials as a framework to map time. To create these complex abstractions, the artist layers strips of found fabric, interspersing soft, muted colors with saturated ones. Similarly anchored in textile traditions, Ronny Quevedo’s Wiphala in the paint echoes Andean checkerboard tunic patterns. A Wiphala is a square rainbow-colored emblem, symbolic of Indigenous rights in South America. In basketball terminology, “in the paint” refers to the painted area near the basketball hoop; colloquially, it can mean giving something your all. With a practice steeped in ideas of collectivity, continuity, and resistance, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme have developed an ongoing, iterative project that considers how sonic and ritual traditions alive in the body counter attempts at erasure, occupation, and control. At the core of their practice is a deep investigation in how performance allows for communities to, “bear witness to and narrate experiences of violence, loss, displacement, and forced migration”, subverting the attempts at fracture and displacement.
Multi-hyphenate artist Lonnie Holley’s expansive, decades-long practice is steeped in experimentation and improvisation. Well-known for his immersive public art environments and assemblage sculptures that call to mind contemporaries like Noah Purifoy and John Outterbridge, Holley recently returned to painting. The colliding ribbons of spray paint in What Will Take the Place of Words swirl across the pictorial plane, depicting the artist’s signature facial profile motif; creating dynamically vibrant compositions that slip between figuration and abstraction. Jared Owens’ Series 111 is an ongoing series of paintings that speak of his carceral experiences, often created with soil from a prison yard at F.C.I. Fairton, a medium security prison where the artist taught himself how to paint while serving a 13-year sentence. In numerology, seeing repeating 1s can signify energetic alignment, or that the world is opening up for you; a phenomenon the artist experiences often. A repeating grid of closely-grouped silhouettes of anonymous figures is disrupted with Owens’s signature X, “universally recognized as the unknown in all math and physics”. Combining the perfect symmetry of the letter with the aforementioned ubiquity, Owens uses the X to question the origins of our ancestors, colonial narratives, and present day existence.
Ashley Hunt photographed 955 men and 55 women, Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles, California, with window application and ink framing the view onto the federal prison as it is visible from LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (2014) from inside Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead at LA MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in 2014. During an early exhibition of Degrees of Visibility (2010-2023), a series of photographic landscape studies that look upon the spaces that surround prisons, jails and detention centers throughout all 50 U.S. states and territories, curated by the abolitionist organization, Critical Resistance Los Angeles, Hunt noticed that a window at the north end of the structure looked directly upon the 16-story Metropolitan Detention Center. In response, the artist applied two strips of diffused window application to frame the view onto the facility, writing on them the number of people reported as imprisoned there. This photograph serves as a reminder of the enduring presence of the facility immediately adjacent to the museum.
Courtesy of the Artist
What Will Take the Place of Words?, 2021-2022
Alkyd enamel, oil stick, and spray paint on canvas
59 1/8 x 102 1/2 x 1 3/8 in
© Lonnie Holley / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy of the Artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Photo by Sai Tripathi
955 men and 55 women, Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles, California, with window application and ink framing the view onto the federal prison as it is visible from LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art., 2014
Courtesy of the Artist
Commercially printed cottons, batik dyed cotton, acrylic paint on muslin, oil pastel, machine quilting, burning, hand stitching, and painting
31 x 56 1/2 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Simone DeSousa Gallery
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme
Those who chant do not die, 2023
Courtesy of the Artists