Curated by Ella Ray
October 23 - November 7, 2021
Image courtesy ariella tai, “cavity,” 2019, digital video still, 5:15
Opening ReceptionSaturday, October 23rd, 5-8pm*
Open HoursFri-Sun 12-5pm*
drop in or by appointment
to schedule a visit
*Masks required inside the gallery
Exhibition StatementNobody’s Fool is a group exhibition, featuring the work of ariella tai, Azha Ayanna Luckman, Kendyl Boyd, Mariah Green, Melanie Stevens, and Nia Musiba, that captures overlapping and divergent articulations of Black alternative realities. Through painting, photography, video, and printmaking, these artists explore how revenge, play, intimacy, and humor materialize when we have the space to operate beyond survival. Rooted in a desire to actualize these environments and ecosystems, namely those more gentle, truthful, and pleasurable for Black people, the exhibition attempts to emphasize contemporary artists utilizing world-building and -dismantling as formal and conceptual frameworks.
Nobody’s Fool asks: What would your world feel, look, or sound like if you didn’t have to modify your fantasies in relation to increasingly hostile realities? What would you amplify, glitch, flip, process, retract, or destroy to make it to the otherside?
This exhibition is invested in the journey and the final destination, in processes and conclusions.
The exhibition’s title, Nobody’s Fool, is respectfully borrowed from the poem Resolution #1003 by June Jordan. June Jordan has provided many maps for exploration and autonomy, making alternatives feel possible.
I will love who loves me
I will love as much as I am loved
I will hate who hates me
I will feel nothing for everyone oblivious to me
I will stay indifferent to indifference
I will live hostile to hostility
I will make myself a passionate and eager lover
in response to passionate and eager love
I will be nobody’s fool
-- June Jordan
About the Curator:
Ella Ray is an art historian, cultural worker, and curator who produces texts, environments, and exhibitions that imagine, and attempt to realize, worlds otherwise. Ray sees remapping, remixing, archiving, and highlighting Black art histories as a community-based practice that must occur beyond the academy and museum spaces. In this work, Ella Ray attempts to trace the contours of where visual and written culture intersect and inform both everyday and dream-spaces.
Ella Ray is currently writing and making exhibitions in Portland, Oregon-- this work can be found in Cult Classic Magazine, the Portland Art Museum magazine, Art About PDX, OregonArtsWatch, and accompanying various public and private collections around the city.
ariella tai is an experimental filmmaker, artist, video editor and independent programmer. tai is one half of “the first and the last,” a fellowship, workshop and screening series supporting and celebrating the work of black women and femmes in film, video and new media art. They have shown work at Anthology Film Archives, Portland Institute For Contemporary Art, Northwest Film Center, Wa Na Wari, the Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival, MOCA and Smack Mellon, amongst others.
Kendyl Boyd (b. 1999, Teaneck, NJ) is an educator, arts administrator, and multifaceted creative working primarily in text, serigraphy, and collage. While she often explores Black girlhood and womanhood through a nostalgic lens, much of her work deconstructs stereotypes, generalizations, and the homogenization of the Black experience that are preserved by all members of society, including Black people themselves. Drawn to type and repetition as a way to affirm and create permanence, printmaking allows her to create and disseminate her work at a swift pace. Through serigraphy, she lays out collected images and text to provoke audiences and engage them in examining their views and beliefs through a critical lens. She is deeply inspired by the work of whom she calls her fairy art-mothers: Carrie Mae Weems, Adrian Piper, and Lorna Simpson. She is also largely informed by the work of Jenny Holzer, though, if her work is compared to that of Cindy Sherman, she will scream internally. Kendyl holds a BFA in Art Education from Moore College of Art and Design and is currently based in Philadelphia, PA
Azha Ayanna Luckman is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is woven with the narratives of her filmographic life, kissed with nostalgia and the color of candid moments, where solace is often found. She documents the space and rituals that call her back to her earthly body – places of grounding. Her portraiture is the light that remains, once the aura of corporeal tensions evaporates.
Nia Musiba lives and eats and sleeps and goes to school and creates work and makes new friends in Portland. Her identity as an African-American woman and the daughter of a Tanzanian immigrant influence her work and her exploration of Blackness throughout history. Her creations are about being human, about hands and feet and bodies and love and sadness and flowers and sunshine. She views her depictions of Black and brown bodies as a direct response to the hyper-sexualization, brutalization, and overall negative depictions of BiPoC individuals within art and media. Nia believes in people, representation, and love, among other things – and has a soft spot for the primary colors.
Melanie Stevens is an artist, illustrator, writer, and educator. She is the creator of the graphic novel series, WaterShed, and a co-founder and co-curator of Nat Turner Project, a migratory gallery space that provides resources for artists of color, as well as spaces to create or express their own language within and without the parameters of racial commodification or designation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree for Political Science from Yale University and her Master’s of Fine Arts degree for Visual Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she currently teaches.
MARIAH GREEN is 25 years old and uses black and white oils as their main medium. They live in the Inland Empire of California as a self-taught artist.