with works by Kiera Boult, Jazmine V K Carr, Danièle Dennis, Marcelline Mandeng, and Dainesha Nugent-Palache, with commissioned texts by Jared Brown and Aurel Haize Odogbo
Curated by Jessica Karuhanga
11 January–03 March 2018
Opening Reception: 11 January 2018, 6-8PM;
Performance by Marcelline Mandeng ft. Kim Ninkuru at 7PM.
Ineffable Blaze meditates on the exhaustive labours of self-articulation that cast the Black femme subject as dispossessed. Their subjectivity is an untraceable spectre. Their Blackness vibrates within the splits of a social system designed to keep its force at the fibril margins. Black femme subjects are constantly compelled to imagine, self-define, and then externalize their existence. Why must they envision the possibility of their own livelihoods, and then engage in the additional labour of translation?
As if humanity for the Black femme were a dream.
As if humanity for the Black femme were virtual.
In death and its looming shadow, the Black femme subject is flattened. In our call to cultivate safe space and self-actualize, are we ever truly free of threat or violation? Safety, softness, and joy are designated temporal glitches within the system. They glisten. Beyond the limits of the system, Black femme vulnerabilities radiate through virtual mediations. Through touch. Refusal. Loss. Through flesh encounters and landscapes of grief. What do these sites look like? These sites are not places one may easily locate, map, or demarcate. However, within these sites, women and femmes embody their Blackness, softness, and sensuality, unfolding into selves as they always and already are—unwavering.
Ineffable Blaze positions itself in defiance of self-defining as a means of actualization. In these splits and breaks, like water forcefully and resiliently weaving through earth, a network of Black femme affinity signals a futurity where they are alive –pulsating and thriving.
Kiera Boult is a Hamilton-based interdisciplinary artist with a BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University. With a background in stand-up comedy, Boult’s performative practice is playfully reliant on camp and approachability. By using the trope of the therapy booth, she posits the artist as facilitator; opening conversations surrounding indigeneity, race politics, class, intersectional feminism and relational aesthetics, all the while skeptically addressing issues that surround the role and/or identity of the artist and the institution.
Jared Brown is an interdisciplinary artist born in Chicago. Their work constructs a mythology around their origins and archives their existence as a black celestial being. In recent work, Jared Brown is broadcasting audio and text based work through the radio, in live DJ sets, and on social media. Jared Brown is a data thief, understanding this role from John Akomfrah’s description of the data thief as a figure that does not belong to the past or present. As a data thief, Jared Brown makes archaeological digs for fragments of black American subculture, history and technology. They repurpose these fragments in audio, text, and video to investigate the relationship between history and digital, immaterial space. Jared Brown is interested in exposing the contradictions and complexity within black American subculture. They consider these gaps and slippages as a type of code that holds the key to a personal and collective future.
Rashayla Marie Brown (mentor) is the inaugural Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), fostering queer Afro-feminist narratives across institutions. RMB holds degrees from Yale University and SAIC, advised by Paul Gilroy and Barbara DeGenevieve respectively. Her work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Yale University, New Haven, CT. Her work has shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL; Calumet Gallery, New York, NY; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received numerous awards, including the City of Chicago’s Artist Residency, the Hyde Park Art Center Flex Residency, the Roger Brown Residency and the Yale Mellon Research Grant. Her works and words have been featured and published in Art Forum, Blouin Modern Painters, Chicago Magazine, Hyperallergic, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, the Radical Presence catalog and the cover of the Chicago Reader. RMB’s essay “Open Letter to My Fellow Young Artists and Scholars on the Margins: A Tribute to Terry Adkins” was shared over 4K times online as of 2016.
Jazmine VK Carr is a multidisciplinary artist, who received a BFA in Printmaking from OCAD University. Carr’s work explores human behaviour through the assessment of culture, identity and femalehood. She uses sculpture and installation, integrated media, performance, assemblages and photography to uncover her focus. Identity, sexuality and perception are the foundations of her works, which are aimed towards exposing the absurdity of reality. Often associated with vulgarity and rawness, she commands a collapse of traditional environments and relationships, asking the viewer to reconsider themselves through their perceptions of her works.
Danièle Dennis’s experiences as a Jamaican-Canadian woman prompt her investigation of racial and cultural issues through the use of time-based media, material exploration and installation. She attempts to disrupt and dismantle social norms and constructs by employing process-based experimentation, often situating her body as sculptural material. Her practice embraces absurdity, remaining fluid in expression. Currently an MFA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Danièle holds a BA in Studio Art from the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is a co-founder of Y+ contemporary. Her work has been presented across Canada including: The New Gallery, Latitude 53, and Xpace Cultural Centre.
Jessica Karuhanga is an artist working through drawing, movement and video. She has presented her work at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto (2017), Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016), Goldsmiths, London (2016). She has performed lectures for The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Royal Ontario Museum as well as Harvard University and Tisch School of the Arts at NYU’s Black Portraitures Series. She earned her BFA from Western University and her MFA from University of Victoria.
Marcelline Mandeng is a Cameroonian-born artist based in Philadelphia using their body as a primary medium and subject alongside video, sound and sculpture. Situated within the marriages of protest, autonomous props and the infinite ways we preserve history, analog and digital, their choreographed performances question the socio-political landscape that informs the experiences of a newly naturalized citizen. They explore how living in America as a black trans woman, an existence at the intersections of blackness, gender non-conformity and difference, demands autonomy; how one’s journey to selfhood is a form of myth building and spiritual self care for coping with trauma.
Aurel Haize Odogbo is a multidisciplinary artist from Baltimore, Maryland but based in New York, New York. She attended Parsons: The New School For Design and studied Fine Arts during her time there. In her work, Odogbo explores and interrogates ideas around the multiplicity of identity ie. gender, race, sexuality and how they all intersect, usually told in very abstracted narrative forms. The mediums that she uses to manifest these abstracted narratives of navigating the world are writing, performance, video compilations, and illustrations.
Dainesha Nugent-Palache is a Canadian artist based in Toronto who creates performative video works and photographs. Dainesha’s practice explores the dichotomies and paradoxes present in Jamaican culture. Most of Dainesha’s work is concerned with representations of society, self, and black diasporic identities, in relation to both the past and present; she also expresses an interest in the ever present cult of the consumer within a Post-Ford capitalist society, fixated on glamour and excess. She holds a BFA in Photography from OCAD University.
* images credit: Sameer Farooq