QF – Quattlebaum Foretich - Gallery is pleased to present tête a tête, a group exhibition curated by Mickalene Thomas and featuring work by Derrick Adams, Zachary Fabri, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deana Lawson, Nicole Miller, Zanele Muholi, Hannah Price, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Malick Sidibe, Xaviera Simmons, Mickalene Thomas and Hank Willis Thomas.
In January of 2012 the Friends of Education of the Museum of Modern Art, New York invited Derrick Adams, Clifford Owens, and Xaviera Simmons to participate in Conversation: Among Friends. This discussion inspired Mickalene Thomas to question ideas surrounding collaborative work, and to consider the performative process in which conversation is transformed into a visual expression.
Tête a tête, in its third iteration, includes photography and video by artists from Africa and the United States. The works in this exhibition presents itself with visual complexity and conceptual ideologies through myth, performance, literature and self, as pertained to the “black body” as we consider it in today’s society.
Mickalene Thomas is interested in the performative way in which male artists use their physical presence and body in relation to the viewer, and the way many female artists see themselves through the gaze of another (often male). Each time Thomas conceives tête a tête, new artists addressing these themes are invited to participate.
Derrick Adams responds to these ideas directly with shrouded self-portraits in Static | Distortion | Interference. Zachary Fabri’s meditative video is an intimate, interior version of his magical, alchemical, filmic landscapes. LaToya Ruby Frazier’s short video is a collaboration between the artist and her mother, exploring themes regarding the body and landscape, familial and communal history, “psychological portraits of the identity of the body and how surrounding outside spaces shape and form it physically.”
Deana Lawson creates photographs that serve as visual testimonies of familial relationships, sexuality, and life cycles in intimate and urban environments. In the Faces and Phases series, Zanele Muholi photographed black lesbians she met through the South African townships as a commemoration and celebration of their lives. She established relationships with her subjects based on a mutual understanding of what it means to be female and lesbian in South Africa today.
Mickalene Thomas’ Polaroid Series, compositions of archival digital Polaroid prints, provide insight into her artistic process. As if looking through a keyhole, the images expose Thomas’ subjects (many of whom are also portrayed in her prints, photographs and paintings), as she herself would have seen them. Thomas creates her narratives through groupings, notes, and arrangements that articulate the intimate conversations between artist and subject.