Allana Clarke: I Feel EverythingOpening: Friday, Apr 14, 2023 7 – 9 pm
Apr 14 – May 13, 2023
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835 W. Washington Blvd.
Floors 1 & 2
Chicago, IL 60607
Kavi Gupta presents I Feel Everything, an exhibition of new sculptural paintings by Trinidadian- American artist Allana Clarke made from Salon Pro 30 Sec. Hair Bonding Glue, a material that has become signature to her practice.
Clarke’s first solo exhibition to focus exclusively on this series of works, I Feel Everything is an aesthetic treatise on the poetics of black space—and Black space.
“As I developed the works I was thinking deeply about my relationship to the color black, approaching it as a space for discovery, experimentation, and multiplicity,” Clarke says.
To create the works, Clarke first pours thousands of 8-oz. bottles of the gloopy, black liquid onto mesh screens. She then wrestles with the material over the course of weeks as it slowly dries. Clawing, pulling, twisting, and scraping at the gradually-less-mutable surface with her bare hands and feet, Clarke imposes her physical and emotional will onto the substance. The undertaking transforms her medium’s appearance and value—a punk subversion of its usual function, which is linked to systems that aim to negate aesthetics of Blackness.
Two types of works are presented in the exhibition: draped, undulating pieces made with fluid, organic gestures; and flatter pieces created with more restrictive, reiterative patterns of movement.
The more undulating works entice the mind into hidden zones of blackness within blackness lurking beneath petrified folds, covered up, mysterious to all but their maker. The flatter works are more about being present with what can be seen within rhythmic interplays of shine and shadow.
A visceral residue of corporeal feeling is perceptible in all of the work.
Reliant upon time for their making, and formulated from a distinctly recognizable product of our time, Clarke’s hair bonding glue sculptures nonetheless possess a timeless aspect. As concrete objects, they palpably harken to the primordial beginnings of everything. As abstract markers of freedom, they feel more like images of faith.
“Black space requires patience,” says Clarke. “You have to truly pay attention to it to be able to receive its complicity, for it to reveal itself. This is a type of meditative space.”tkavi