Opening reception: Saturday, September 12, 4-7pm
In her third solo exhibition at moniquemeloche, Ebony G. Patterson will debut a new body of her signature hand-embellished tapestries that are part of the ongoing series Dead Treez. Focusing on the body to impart the paradoxical relationship between Jamaica’s traditional expectations of manhood and the flamboyant aesthetics of its dancehall culture, Patterson creates a window onto working-class Jamaican society. Adorned with patterning and ornamentation, the artist seduces the viewer into bearing witness to the underreported and unacknowledged brutality experienced by those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Gone are the party people glittering in the video light, these new tapestries hold images of murder victims, drawing attention to shadowy and more violent aspects of the pageantry:
An image was circulating on social media of a three-year-old child who was murdered in a tenement housing project. Bystanders took pictures and shared them with the intent to raise awareness—that this photo was so disturbing that it would get attention. I think there is something very strange that happens with people who choose to share images like that. We no longer think about the individual, it’s not a person, it’s an image, [and] it’s an object. There is this distance; we now only experience the world through a screen which separates us from the reality. The catch-22 is that if we didn’t have social media, these people—these invisibles—would not be visible, we would not know about them.
Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaican, b. 1981 Kingston, lives Kingston and works Lexington, KY) is the recipient of many prestigious fellowships, awards and grants, including the Aaron Matalon Award from the Jamaica Biennial (2014), William H. Johnson Prize finalist (2013), a Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica (2012), Small Axe Magazine and Andy Warhol Commissioned Grant (2012), and Rex Nettleford Fellowship in Cultural Studies (2011). Her work will be featured in the upcoming seasons of Empire, directed by Lee Daniels (20th Century Fox Television), and was recently featured at the 12th Havana Biennial: Between the Idea and the Experience, Havana, Cuba (2015); Prospect.3: Notes for Now, curated by Franklin Sirmans, New Orleans, LA (2014), the Jamaica Biennial 2014, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston. Her current solo exhibition Dead Treez at the Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (through Sept 2015) travels to the Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY (November 2015). Current and upcoming shows include a solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem (March 2016); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (through Sept 2015); and En Mas’: Carnival 21st Century Style, The Caribbean as Site Specific Performance that recently closed at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA will now embark on a tour of the Caribbean that will begin at the National Art Gallery of the Cayman Islands (2016) and onto the National Gallery of the Bahamas. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Forbes Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Vogue Italia, The Huffington Post, Artnet, Blouin Artinfo, ARC Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Jamaica Observer, The Miami Herald, and Art Voices Magazine, amongst others. Her work is in the public collections of the National Gallery of Jamaica, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Nasher Museum at Duke University. Patterson is Associate Professor in Painting and Mixed Media at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and is currently on sabbatical and was awarded a faculty research grant for 2015.