CHICAGO — Jewel Ham’s work displays the significance she locations on neighborhood and the protected area that’s created amongst her family members and buddies. Round them, the artist feels a way of freedom to be and categorical herself, free of the anxieties and the burden she carries as a Black lady residing in America. Her exhibition i mentioned what i mentioned, on view on the Stony Island Arts Financial institution, in collaboration with Anthony Gallery, exhibits the artist growing her signature portray model and voice.
Every of her figurative work is a mix of dazzling reds, oranges, purples, yellows, and pinks. Her colour selections, which have a tendency towards deeper and darker hues, showcase the vibrance of those hues and critique a colorist interpretation of Blackness as being monolithic, missing a mess of colours therein. In increasing the palette of Blackness to showcase a broader spectrum of colour frequencies, Ham remembers the Black Gentle sequence by Religion Ringgold and the work of AfriCOBRA artist Wadsworth Jarrell.
“To be Black is to be annoyed. For me, that frustration and fury are why we are able to do the issues we are able to do: rap music, soul meals, style. This frustration is a particular bloodline. From there, it turns into: how I can use the colour purple to create a temper. … how can I actually push that temper in order that the bloodline is ever current?” the artist just lately advised me.
Ham’s work captures moments of freedom and liberation that may erupt throughout informal gatherings or leisure in on a regular basis areas. Nevertheless, these moments exist in opposition to the backdrop of hardships, and may solely be understood inside this context. She channels the struggles of her ancestors, the blood they spilled, and the sacrifices they made for her to pursue her personal model of freedom, by way of her masterful use of her signature colour, purple, and its many variations.
The works on this exhibition, aptly named i mentioned what i mentioned, undertaking an air of confidence and conviction. On the middle of a portray titled “strive me higher” (2022) is a younger lady holding a fats stack of money to her ear as if it’s a telephone. The gesture evokes the showy antics of lure rappers. A mixture of magentas, purples, purple, blues, and yellows within the foreground envelop the central determine and sharply distinction with the colour of two extra figures, who appear to mix into the background. They look like so enthralled in their very own spare time activities that they’re oblivious to the actions of the paintings’s central determine.
One other portray, “and did” (2022), depicts a younger lady taking a sip from a bottle of cognac, with the phrase “hater’s tears” changing the Hennessy label. The picture is a nod to Hennessy’s iconic function inside city subcultures. On this method, Ham faucets into shared experiences and the connotations of their symbols which might be solely identified to those that are members of “the tradition.”
Meals and liquor play a significant function all through the exhibition; they function the glue that coheres Ham and her family members. That is greatest embodied within the portray, “what’s tea?” (2022), the place Ham locations one other portray within the exhibition, “get into it” (2021), within the nook of this the scene of three buddies communing in a brunch-like setting.
In its greatest moments the exhibition reads like a stream-of-conscious snapshot into the thoughts and experiences of the younger artist. It exists as an ode to Black lady and Black boy pleasure and a celebration of their resilience and continued potential to create lemonade from lemons.
Jewel Ham: i mentioned what i mentioned continues on the on the Stony Island Arts Financial institution (6760 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago, Illinois) by way of April 10. The exhibition was organized by Anthony Gallery in collaboration with the Rebuild Basis.