Some Infinitely Gentle, Infinitely Suffering Thing

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Some Infinitely Gentle, Infinitely Suffering Thing
Curated by: Rich Blint

1150 St. Nicholas Avenue (168th St)
New York, NY 10032
February 6th, 2014 - May 9th, 2014
Opening: February 6th, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Columbia University
figurative, modern, surrealism, mixed-media, conceptual

Some Infinitely Gentle, Infinitely Suffering Thing is a solo exhibition of new works by conceptual and performance artist, Wayne Hodge. The show pursues the artist's long-held interest in how expressive forms and genres develop and produce contested meanings. Responding specifically to the concept of "built environments," Hodge examines space (and time) through the visual language of the gilded age and the gilded frame, itself. 
The images that emerge strike one as a kind of "mash-up," inspired as they are by the collage work of Surrealist, Max Ernst, and his visual novel Un Semaine De Bonté (A Week of Kindness), a work that takes its source material from nineteenth century popular media and culture. Hodge has in mind a conversation across the centuries and thus employs imagery from the same period as Ernst, which featured representations of blackface minstrelsy—the single most popular cultural phenomenon of nineteenth century America. The figures conjured are, however, newly animated by Hodge's deceptively light hand. Achieved through the particular fall of the head, the set of the eyes, a flash of disarming gold teeth, or the quiet severity of an open mouth, Hodge reasserts the racial encounter as a historically tangled affair. Here, we find neither flat juxtaposition or righteous inversion, but query, wit, and plea. And since, as the artist reminds us, Surrealism was also to give way to the fantastic, Hodge presents sci-fi illustration as a comment on the mythologies and fictions of racial belonging that persist. This is an alternative or future-directed visual study that is at once otherworldly and deeply present. 
Wayne Hodge is an artist whose work combines elements of collage, performance, and photography. His practice explores the relationship between history, media, and fantasies of race and desire. He received an M.F.A. from Rutgers University and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, and the Skowhegan School. His work has been shown at The Bronx Museum, MoMA P.S.1, as well as internationally in Germany, Brazil, and China. He is currently featured inThe Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art and The Shadows Took Shape exhibitions, both currently on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem    
 This exhibition is part of the series built environments, a curatorial initiative conceived by Columbia University School of the Arts’ Office of Community Outreach and Education, to engage contemporary issues in fine art concerning aesthetics, value, difference, and public space. As a term, built environments functions as a framing and rhetorical device to capture the ambition and goal of every artist. The term is also presented as a way to think about the sustainability of exhibition contexts that extend beyond the confines of the white cube gallery or museum space. And most directly related to the fields of architecture and urban planning within which the concept emerged,built environmentsmarks the project’s location in Northern Manhattan and its exploration of alternative fine art exhibition north of 96thStreet.
Simultaneously on view at the Mary Lasker Building as part of the built environments exhibition series:
Slight Presences, Flashes of Remembrance: Amy Pollack
Curated by Rich Blint
February 6 - May 9, 2014
Upcoming: Duhirwe Rushemeza, Renee Cox