AL•CHEM•I•CAL: (Relating to esoteric processes, turning base metals into gold). This group exhibition, opening March 4 at Artists Image Resource includes new work by artists and educators Bekezela Mguni, DS Kinsel, and Quaishawn Whitlock.
These artists use the idea of "Black Magic" as a double entendre, playing with perceptions and periods. They each use screenprinting, paint, paste, collage, and other methods to exhume past contexts and shared histories. Work being exhibited has been created in and around the artists image resource studio over the past two years.
AL•CHEM•I•CAL includes work from AIR's Residency Project with BOOM Concepts and a print signing and distribution party closing out AIR's "Golden Cage" Portfolio Project.
BOOM residency artists include DS Kinsel, Bekezela Mguni and Quaishawn Whitlock. Golden Cage Portfolio artists include Robert Hodge, Maritza Mosquera, Robert Williams , DS Kinsel, Bekezela Mguni and Quaishawn Whitlock.
DS KINSEL: WHAT THEY TALKIN' BOUT
Collage works and textual artifacts by DS Kinsel
DS Kinsel is an award winning creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator. He expresses his creativity through the mediums of painting, printmaking, collage, installation, curating, performance and public art. Kinsel’s work puts focus on themes of space keeping, urban tradition, hip-hop, informalism and cultural re-appropriation. Kinsel has worked partners such as Most Wanted Fine Art, Artist Image Resource, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Carnegie Mellon University Digital Arts Studio, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, The Andy Warhol Museum,The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, AS220,The Association of Art Museum Curators and the Sedona Summer Artist Colony as an artist, curator, and producer.
BEKEZELA MGUNI: PAPER PLAY: PRACTICE IN POSSIBILITIES
Bekezela Mguni is a queer Trinidadian artist, librarian, birth worker, and educator. She has over 15 years of community organizing experience in the Reproductive Justice movement and holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. Bekezela participated in the Librarians and Archivists with Palestine delegation in June of 2013. She completed her first residency at the Pittsburgh creative hub Boom Concepts and was featured in the 2015 Open Engagement Conference. She was a 2015-2016 member of the Penn Ave Creative Accelerator Program with the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and launched the Black Unicorn Library and Archive Project. The Black Unicorn cultivates libraries as sites of learning, possibility, and freedom, celebrating the literary and artistic contributions of Black women, queer, Trans, and gender-expansive people. She has also served as the 2016 Sophia Smith Archive Activist-in-Residence at Smith College. Bekezela was selected as an Emerging Artist in the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival and won the Juror's Choice award for her visual artwork. She was a featured artist of the 2017 Activist Print Project, a partnership between, Artist Image Resource, BOOM concepts, and the Andy Warhol Museum and is an artist in residence at Artist Image Resource. Bekezela is a member of Boom Concepts and also serves as the Education Program Director at Dreams of Hope which affirms the voices and leadership of LGBTQ youth through the arts.
New work by AIR Resident Artist Quaishawn Whitlock
Quaishawn Whitlock is an interdisciplinary Artist, educator and business owner working out of Pittsburgh PA.
BOOM Concepts is a creative hub dedicated to the advancement of black, brown, queer and femme artists. BOOM Concepts is located in Pittsburgh and since 2014 has curated 50 exhibitions on-site, paid out over $75k in artists fees and produced 200+ events across the country. BOOM Concepts serves as a space for field building, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and storytelling. In its 8th year, BOOM Concepts continues to work with creatives to find innovative strategies around entrepreneurship and artistic practice. In 2021, BOOM Concepts was selected to represent Pittsburgh for the Google Arts & Culture platform and was identified as an American Cultural Treasure through The Heinz Endowments and The Ford Foundation.
ARTISTS IMAGE RESOURCE
Artists Image Resources (AIR) is an artist run, non-profit print and imaging organization established in 1996 to serve as a laboratory for artists, educators and the community. AIR’s mission is to integrate the creation of fine art prints with educational programs that explore the role of the artist in contemporary culture. AIR’s primary activities are to initiate and facilitate projects with professional artists and to create active laboratory environments where artists, students and the public interact. AIR’s fundamental interest is in how print and imaging processes are being used in broader contemporary art making practice and how these practices impact and reflect culture.
THE GOLDEN CAGE PORTFOLIO
The dominant socio-political voice of the United States has seemed to sway towards the open support of oppression, cultural erasure, xenophobia, and injustices. In America, the unyielding appetite of corporate interest compiled with rapid over development and hyper investment of urban centers is creating a luxury and boutique experience that fails to provide its citizens basic human rights. Yet and still, the United States somehow remains the largest resettlement destination in the world. The myth that the streets are lined with gold has turned to a dream to be engaged by the “La Jaula De Oro” of our free market and oppressive institutions.
The city of Pittsburgh serves as an interesting microcosm for the larger issue happening across the country. This city, with its newly formed cultural identity as a place “on the rebound” is taking full part in the American phenomenon of hyper corporate capitalism and reinvestment that creates the “golden cage”. Operating in this new regional ecosystem is often a difficult adjustment for the layman, especially without the very specific job skills needed to enter into these new opportunities. This is without mention of the homogeneous demographics of these new sectors and industries. This “La Jaula De Oro” project is meant to serve as a space where artists can use personal and community voices to critique, commend, or condemn issues across our nation's consciousness.
GOLDEN CAGE PORTFOLIO PARTICIPANT ARTISTS:
BEKEZELA MGUNI, DARRELL KINSEL, and QUAISHAWN WHITLOCK, ROBERT HODGE, MARITZA MOSQUERA, ROBERT WILLIAMS.
Robert Hodge: Born in Houston, Texas and raised in the City’s Third Ward district, Robert Hodge studied visual art at the Atlanta College of Art and more recently at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited his work in numerous national and international institutions, including Boyd Satellite Gallery (New Orleans, LA), the Project Row Houses (Houston, TX), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, TX), New Gallery of Modern Art (Charlotte, NC), Coma Art Space (Los Angeles, CA), and Contemporary Museum of East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya). Named amongst the Houston Press’ 100 Most Creative People in 2011, the artist has also received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance and The Idea Fund. Hodge currently lives and works in Houston.
Maritza Mosquera is a visual artist, poet, painter, and cook whose creations often accompany dialogues with community. Her visual works are installation “diaries” about relationships and ideas referencing personal and public desires, such as the earth’s healing from fracking, intimacy, criminal justice, the story of skin, the end of racism, home recipes, and the power of voice. https://maritzamosquera.net/