In Hollywood…Marian Goodman Gallery Los Angeles debuted a solo exhibition titled Magnificent Darkness, by Tavares Strachan. An opening art party was held on April 13, 2024. The exhibition runs through April 13, 2024.
This immersive exhibition will feature several new bodies of work across six diverse and site-specific environments. Through an interconnected array of works, this exhibition collectively professes a visual allegory toward the overarching exploration of light and darkness. The art is comprised of ceramic, bronze, marble, hair, neon, sound, as well as painting.
Strachan’s work summons historical and also cultural references, creating essential contextual collisions and connections to his celebrated, ongoing research project, The Encyclopedia of Invisibility. For this exhibition, a central installation from the Encyclopedia forefronts the surrounding gallery spaces, bringing light to a number of ‘invisible histories’ that have largely fallen by the historical wayside. Additionally, a special, smaller format of the Encyclopedia in book form will also be on view. Nearby, Magnificent Darkness, a new work in neon from which the exhibition derives its title, draws on the words of James Baldwin, and is also the source for the audio work that can be heard throughout the exhibition space.
In the Seward Gallery, a vast and transportive earthen floor grounds two near-life-sized ceramic sculptures, Matthew Henson (Hunter’s Shirt Stacked with Football and Spear) and Andrea Crabtree (Potter’s Shirt Stacked with Diver’s Helmet), representing the figures of Matthew Henson, the African American explorer who discovered the North Pole, and Andrea Motley Crabtree, the first African American female diver for the U.S. Navy.
In an intimate space off the main lobby sits Amina (A Map of the Crown), a bronze bust sculpture adorned with a traditional West African hairstyle. The closeness of these materials offers an insightful reconciliation of the distance between the deeply personal, political, and present nature of hair and the venerable qualities bestowed upon bronze sculpture—some of the earliest and most accomplished bronze works date to Africa in the 10th century. A new series of paintings also debuts here. Mind Field No. 1 sits in dialogue with Amina, together begetting references ranging from the history of the monochrome to metaphorical notions of hair as a protective layer, symbol of knowledge, and means for communication and transport.
In the adjacent Hudson gallery, a waist-high ‘meadow’ of dried rice grass transforms the space into a landscape. The installation references rice as a staple of the Afro-Caribbean diet. The dramatic floorscape finds its focal point in Jah Rastafari (Stacked with Pineapple, Shield and Football), 2023. The multifaceted ceramic sculpture illustrating a bricolage of spiritual and cultural forms from disparate centuries.
The Main Gallery
The exhibition continues the dialogue of the interrelation of light and darkness. It opens with the related words of Baldwin n the main gallery. Split in two, the divided spaces become each other’s complements. These works explore the traditions of storytelling in West African and Afro Caribbean cultures. They serve the dual purpose of vessels made of earth that host the daily materials of rice and water. In addition the canvases document stories through symbols and patterns. Also, the contrasting, light-filled gallery presents a white painting of hair. This is alongside three white marble sculptures, Makeda (A Map of the Crown), Moremi (A Map of the Crown), and Amanirenas (A Map of the Crown). It collectively draws questions around whiteness and related visual discourses of ancient sculpture.
On view: February 17, 2024 – April 13, 2024
What: Magnificent Darkness, Tavares Strachan
Where: Marian Goodman Gallery, 1120 Seward Street, LA, 90038
When: Running through April 13, 2024