The MFAH Core Exhibition Program presents “There is no archive in which nothing gets lost,” with the opening reception– free to the public– to be held on Friday, September 7, from 6 to 8PM at the Glassell School of Art. The exhibition will be on display from opening night through November 25, 2012. Curated by Sally Frater, fellow of Core Critical Studies, the exhibit will feature three video pieces by Sonia Boyce in collaboration with Ain Bailey, Wangechi Mutu, and Lorna Simpson.
Each of the featured videos inquire an investigation of “place” as explored through depictions of architecture, geographic locations, and memory. In the exhibition’s press release, curator Sally Frater describes the videos as exploring the ways in which “our relationships to environments, whether constructed or natural, are often predicted on the traces of past events that have become embedded in specific sites. These historical traces shape not only our behavior but ultimately how we view ourselves and others.”
Oh Adelaide (2010), a collaboration of Sonia Boyce and Ain Bailey, encompasses altered film footage and re-worked audio tracks of late Jazz singer Adelaide Hall and other performers from the Devotional collection. The subject is rendered and time and space are distorted in a landscape in which she appears both inside and outside of history.
Cutting (2004) is filmed by Wangechi Mutu in the town of Presidio, a border town filled with historical tension between the U.S. and Mexico. Place-identifying markers are lacking in the film, rendering the city as a non-place. With a violent undertone, Mutu portrays herself, machete in hand, slashing and hacking away at a log that she is unable to fully chop. Within Mutu’s work, the history of violence is unearthed in this geographical site.
Lorna Simpson’s Corridor (2003) depicts two women with a dual projection display. One woman represents the time of the start of the Civil War in the United States, 1860, and the other woman is set 100 years later, in 1960– when the Civil Rights Act was passed in the United States. The time gap is diminished as the two screens meet in the middle. Though scripted performances, they take real historical events from U.S. history into consideration as they cross-examine the ways that the actual events have become mythologized and fixed within official historical narratives.
The featured artists are very educated and experienced in their field. Sonia Boyce is currently an MBE and Research Fellow at University of the Arts London and also holds a Visiting Professorship at Middlesex University in the Department of Fine Art. She earned a BFA from Stourbridge College and has extensively exhibited her work throughout the UK at many prestigious galleries, museums, and universities.
Ain Bailey currently lives and works in London as an experienced sound artist. A Cologne-based dance company, Mouvior, commissioned her to create sound works for touring productions throughout Europe. She created a live soundtrack for Lois Weber’s classic silent film, “Suspense,” at the Showroom Gallery.
Kenyan-born and Brooklyn-based Wangechi Mutu has obtained an I.B. from the World College of the Atlantic, Wales, UK; a BFA from Cooper Union for the Advancement of the Arts and Science, New York; and an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University. Her works have been displayed in both solo and group exhibitions in the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Savannah College of Art and Design, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Miami Art Museum, Deutsche Guggenheim, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art– to name a few. Mutu lives and works in New York and is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.
Lorna Simpson holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. She received the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award in Art (2010) and is currently represented by Salon 96 Gallery in New York. Simpson participated in the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
This exhibition is curated by independent curator and writer, Sally Frater, who earned a BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and an MA in Contemporary Art from Stotheby’s/University of Manchester. She is a returning fellow in the Core Critical Studies Program at the Glassell School at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the current Core/Project Row Houses resident. Her writings have appeared in NKA, Border Crossings Magazine, Fuse, and C Magazine. She has curated exhibitions at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Gallery 44 Centre for Photography in Toronto, The Print Studio, and the McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton.