curated by Essence Harden
Natalie Ball, Ako Castuera, Yrneh Gabon, Khari Johnson-Ricks,
Joy Messi, Star Montana, Devin N Morris, Azikiwe Mohammed,
Elise Peterson, and Michael Soi
January 11 - February 22, 2019
Saturday, January 11, 7-9pm
Lowell Ryan Projects is pleased to present Persistent Presence a group exhibition curated by independent curator Essence Harden. The show will feature work by Natalie Ball, Ako Castuera, Yrneh Gabon, Khari Johnson-Ricks, Joy Messi, Azikiwe Mohammed, Star Montana, Devin N Morris, Elise Peterson, and Michael Soi.
This exhibition considers memory as an act and critical site of persistent presence. A faculty which confirms the curve and affective constitution of time, memory here is an exploratory joinder of personal, state, and global narratives. From haunting to reveries, memory as both the matter of the lived past and inventive wanderings is a reckoning on our here and now, on present-ness. The artists in this exhibition utilize national histories, kin narratives, and intrapersonal discourse to map scapes of excess, realms of indigeneity, diasporic routes, and queered desire. With Persistent Presence, the gallery is made a composite of works which fold and extend beyond the wall surface gesturing towards assemblages, installation, sculptural, and collagist paintings as means to grapple with the question at hand. The past is held accountable for what is made viable and possible in these works of the contemporary. In part, this exhibition takes on national productions of the modern as an entity which subsumes and holds hostage its past horrors/disorder as it caste narratives of progress.
Persistent Presence asks how memory in the hands of artists is a disruption of urban renewal, evolution, notions of sanctity, and care as told by national and local governing strains. As Toni Morrison notes, “memory (the deliberate act of remembering) is a form of willed creation,” and it is in these gestures of recollection that forge works of/on our now which insists on not forgetting.
Essence Harden is a Ph.D. Candidate, independent curator, arts writer, and artist. Essence has curated exhibitions at Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; California African American Museum (CAAM); Antenna Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD); Advocate and Gochis Galleries, Los Angeles, CA; Residency Art Gallery, Inglewood, CA; and UTA Arts, Los Angeles, CA (2020). Essence has appeared in LALA, Cultured Magazine, Performa Magazine, and SFAQ: International Arts and Culture amongst others. Essence is a recipient of the 2018 Creative Capital, Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program Grant.