Red Hills of Lardossa at Downs & Ross

Artists: Tau Lewis, Erin Jane Nelson, Sojourner Truth Parsons

Exhibition title: Red Hills of Lardossa

Venue: Downs & Ross, New York, US

Date: June 2 – 30, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Downs & Ross, New York

Red Hills of Lardossa derives its title from the closing track of Drexciya’s 1994 double vinyl release Drexciya 4: The Unknown Aquazone – Double Aquapack (Detroit: Submerge, 1994. 2x vinyl, 12”, 33 ⅓ RPM). Fantasizing electro music’s infiltration of transatlantic communication streams that echo the passages and conjectural return of the black diaspora, the then-anonymous, Detroit-based duo Drexciya dedicated its liner sleeve notes to speculations about the existence of a race of sea creatures mutated from pregnant African slaves thrown overboard during passage to the Americas. The exhibition comprehends the origins of electro music as a riposte to the decimated living wages and reprobate municipal infrastructure of post-fordist, post-race riots Detroit—taking as its point of departure a will to the remastery of machines sensitized to the continued, technologically-mediated oppression of black bodies.

Synthesizing black diasporic artistic production and conjectural posthuman identities, the works on view manifest aesthetic engagements spanning transoceanic mythologies and techno-organic hybridity anchored by recombinatory compositional logics. Whereas Drexciya’s genus of afrofuturism exalted in musical escapism and the mystical originary locus of an identity formation inflected more by a nebulous mutation than the immanent experience of black embodiment, the exhibition evacuates hierarchies between a pelagic metaphysics and the groundedness of vernacular realities. Instead, noirish atmospherics, mosaiced recuperations of canvas debris, postal scales, secret objects, pigment prints, sousveillance/surveillance anxieties, anecdotes and idle smoking inscribe a feminized repressing of both land-based consciousness and ciphered communications.

Tau Lewis (b. 1993, Toronto; lives and works in Toronto, Canada). Solo and two-person exhibitions: Copper Cole Gallery, Toronto; 8-11 Gallery, Toronto; The Pendulum Project at Studio 223a, Toronto. Recent group exhibitions include: New Museum, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Sleep Center, New York; Galleri Tom Christoffersen, Copenhagen; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Cooper Cole, Toronto; Art Gallery of York University, Toronto; 116 Geary Ave, Toronto.

Erin Jane Nelson (b. 1989; lives and works in Atlanta, GA) gained her BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art, New York, and completed studies at The Malmö Art Academy, Malmö. Solo exhibitions: Document, Chicago; Hester, New York; Important Projects, Oakland. Selected group exhibitions: Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago; The Stable, Waregem, Belgium; Ashes/Ashes, Los Angeles; ATLBNL at Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta; Suprainfinit, Bucharest; Honor Fraser, Los Angeles; Galerie Division, Montreal; Springsteen Gallery, Baltimore; Centre for Style, Melbourne; Favorite Goods, Los Angeles; Ellis King, Dublin; Bureau, New York; Bad Reputation, Los Angeles; City Limits, Oakland; Mission Comics and Art, San Francisco; 321 Gallery, Brooklyn; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn; Et Al at The Lab, San Francisco; Jancar Jones; Los Angeles.

Sojourner Truth Parsons (b. 1984, Vancouver; lives and works in Los Angeles) gained her BFA at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Halifax. Solo exhibitions: Oakville Galleries, Toronto; Tomorrow Gallery, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Phil Gallery, Los Angeles; Mulherin, New York; Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Toronto; 161 Gallon Gallery, Halifax; Seeds Gallery, Halifax; Eyelevel Gallery, Halifax. Recent group exhibitions: 11R, New York; Foxy Production, New York; Galerie Sultana, Paris; 4619, Los Angeles; Cooper Cole, Toronto; Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto; Night Gallery with Know More Games, New York.

Sojourner Truth Parsons, Saturday Morning, 2015, Collage and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches / 121,92 x 121,92 cm

Installation View, Red Hills of Lardossa: Tau Lewis, Erin Jane Nelson, Sojourner Truth Parsons, 2017, Downs & Ross (Eldridge), New York

Installation View, Red Hills of Lardossa: Tau Lewis, Erin Jane Nelson, Sojourner Truth Parsons, 2017, Downs & Ross (Eldridge), New York

Erin Jane Nelson, HermesSy Mossback, 2017, Pigment prints on silk and cotton, wool, ink, various fabrics, 62 x 40 inches / 132 x 157,5 cm

Sojourner Truth Parsons, You will get old!, 2016, Acrylic, glitter, glue, ash, string, raw pigment, canvas, lavender essence on canvas, 72 x 60 inches / 182,9 x 152,4 cm

Installation View, Red Hills of Lardossa: Tau Lewis, Erin Jane Nelson, Sojourner Truth Parsons, 2017, Downs & Ross (Eldridge), New York

Installation View, Red Hills of Lardossa: Tau Lewis, Erin Jane Nelson, Sojourner Truth Parsons, 2017, Downs & Ross (Eldridge), New York

Tau Lewis, Untitled (The Cause and cure is you), 2017, Plaster, cloth, paint, leather, secret objects, Dream Journal, framed watercolor on paper 18 x 60 x 24 inches /, 45,7 x 152,4 x 61 cm (sculpture), 12 x 14 inches / 30,48 x 35,56 cm (framed watercolor on paper), Installation dimensions variable

Tau Lewis, Untitled (The Cause and cure is you), 2017, Plaster, cloth, paint, leather, secret objects, Dream Journal, framed watercolor on paper 18 x 60 x 24 inches / 45,7 x 152,4 x 61 cm (sculpture), 12 x 14 inches / 30,48 x 35,56 cm (framed watercolor on paper), Installation dimensions variable

Installation View, Red Hills of Lardossa: Tau Lewis, Erin Jane Nelson, Sojourner Truth Parsons, 2017, Downs & Ross (Eldridge), New York

Erin Jane Nelson, Azrail SheLeaky, 2017, Pigment print on cotton and various fabrics, 52 x 40 inches / 132 x 101,6 cm

Sojourner Truth Parsons, Three keys to her mind with no door!, 2016, Canvas, glue, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches / 152,4 x 121,9 cm

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