Art Basel Miami Beach, Ebony G. Patterson presented by Monique Meloche Gallery On View December 6-10, 2023

Ebony G. Patterson, ...AND THE DEW CRACKS THE EARTH, IN FIVE ACTS OF LAMENTATION...BETWEEN THE CUTS...BENEATH THE LEAVES...BELOW THE SOIL..., 2020 Digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, plastic cockroaches, and feathered monarch butterflies in custom UV frames on artist-designed vinyl
Ebony G. Patterson, …and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, 2023.

Monique Meloche Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in this year’s iteration of Art Basel Miami Beach. The gallery’s booth will showcase its commitment to diverse voices, featuring established and emerging artists that explore socio-political issues through material innovation in their work.

A new painting by David Antonio Cruz will be the focal point of the booth. Ruminating on the intersectionality of queerness and race through paintings, sculpture, and performance, this work is a continuation of Cruz’s “Chosen Family” series that highlights the non-biological bonds between queer people of color. While his baroque staging and dramatic compositions are reminiscent of high society portraiture, the backdrop of lush monochromatic Ceiba trees connect to his Puerto Rican heritage. Together, these elements evoque the colossal strength developed within the roots of these kindred chosen family trees.

Ebony G. Patterson and Maia Cruz Palileo both mine different histories and visual cultures to accentuate a colonialist point of view and speak to notions of memory, legacy and migration. Patterson’s multi-layered practice includes large-scale tapestries and hand cut paper collage works that put forth opulent aesthetics and use beauty to seduce viewers into bearing witness to victims of social injustice. Palileo, meanwhile, uses magical realism to reflect on their family’s migration to the United States from the Philippines. Their expressive, gestural paintings imbue a sense of humanity and dignity to the subjects, evoking nostalgia and romanticism while critiquing the ramifications of colonization—past and present.

Candida Alvarez draws from the narrative of place, pulling materials from her immediate world, travels and Puerto Rican heritage to build dreamlike narratives that exist somewhere between fact and fiction. Arvie Smith, whose career spans more than forty years, transforms the history of oppressed and stereotyped segments of the American experience into lyrical two-dimensional master works. Jake Troyli investigates the construction of otherness and the commodification of the Black/Brown body, confronting and exploring labor capitalism and sweat equity as a demonstration of value.

Jake Troyli, THE DOORBUSTER DEAL, 2022
Oil and graphite on canvas

Emerging artist Antonius-Tin Bui’s intensively hand-cut paper portraits are visualizations of hybrid identities and histories, told through an intersectional, queer AAPI lens. Nigerian-born Luke Agada’s surrealist paintings explore themes of globalization, migration, and cultural dislocation within the framework of a postcolonial world and its impact on neo-cultural evolution.

Cheryl Pope maintains a practice rooted in the examination of systematic social concerns through novel material interventions. Made of unspun wool-roving and cashmere, Pope’s innovative textural “paintings” reference the classic motif of the leisured nude and cinematically compose the silent complexities of life through the artist’s own relationships and moments of disconnect, anxiety and desire.

Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe uses bold visual language to function as a reaction to the environment of his upbringing to challenge the stigma and judgment associated with the ghetto. Harlem-based artist David Shrobe’s meticulously carved and painted assemblage-structures incorporate found objects and investigate the coexistence of hybrid identities and notions of a collective remembrance reimagined.

Feathers, string, hair beads, jewelry, synthetic rose, acrylic and spray paint on canvas
Lavar Munroe, WE WISH TO WELCOME YOU TO OUR LAND, 2022 Feathers, string, hair beads, jewelry, synthetic rose, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

The gallery will also feature works by Sanford Biggers, Sheree Hovsepian, Kajahl and Shinique Smith.

Alongside the gallery’s booth presentation at the fair, Patterson will showcase a monumental installation titled …and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil… in the fair’s Meridians section. Patterson’s panels grow out of a complex entanglement of race, gender, class and violence, viewing the garden as a postcolonial symbol of a past that is never fully buried and barely visible. The coexistence of beauty and horror in Patterson’s environments parallel the abundant plant-life she conjures through an excess of embellished materials.

To construct the work, Patterson begins with an elaborate photoshoot in her Jamaica studio. Once the images are printed, she shreds and tears the paper by hand, damaging the material in the process of making new forms, parallel to the act of gardening when living things are pulled and pruned. Amongst various collaged elements, branching vines, feathered butterflies and paper flowers—some of which represent poisonous specimens—stand out against a white background. More “living wall” than painting, each panel consists of lush overgrowth that envelops a human presence which slowly becomes apparent. The faces, arms, legs, and headless torsos of Black women in lament poke out from beneath the layers of foliage, turning the garden, an emblem of beauty and fecundity, into a potent lure designed to seduce and clobber unwitting viewers. This monumental display of women publicly mourning will be the thematic focus of Patterson’s upcoming solo exhibition at Arnolfini in Bristol, UK in 2024.

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