“Pac Thugz Mansion” (2019) by Jerrell Gibbs

 

RENDERED IN SOFT FOCUS, a glimpse of nude figures diving into an expansive body of blue water is seen through an opening of low-hanging foliage. It’s a view that could take on any number of interpretations.

The painting by Jerrell Gibbs is a vision of freedom and frolic in a so-called “post-racial” era. At the same time, the serene scene can be seen through a freighted lens—the history and burden of blackness.

All the hackneyed and trite assumptions and sometimes true stereotypes are well-known. There’s the misnomer that black people can’t swim. The standard line that African Americans don’t have the luxury of indulging in downtime and can’t afford to vacation. The very real legacy of segregated pools, lakes, and beaches.

Is that Highland Beach on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Martha’s Vineyard, or elsewhere in the diaspora—an early stop along the route of the transatlantic slave trade, somewhere in the Caribbean, perhaps?

The artist has something entirely different in mind. The painting “upends established narratives around race and identity in order to reshape the viewer’s understanding of reality.”

The painting “upends established narratives around race and identity in order to reshape the viewer’s understanding of reality.”

Gibbs is one of six young, black male figure painters featured in “Disembodiment,” a group show at UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills. Presented in collaboration with Chicago-based Mariane Ibrahim gallery, works by Jarvis Boyland, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Marcus Jahmal, Clotilde Jiménez, and Vaughn Spann, are also on view.

The exhibition description further explains the perspectives the artists bring to the work: “In unapologetically reassessing the ownership and authorship of their own Blackness, this new generation becomes both subject and object, both narrator of and character in their work.”

 


Installation view of “Disembodiment,” curated by Mariane Ibrahim, at UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, Calif. (Nov. 22, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 

“DISEMBODIMENT” is curated by Mariane Ibrahim Lenhardt. It’s the first show she’s organized in Los Angeles. The selected artists are closely watched talents who, early in their careers, have gained increasingly significant recognition.

Their up-and-coming status reflects Mariane Ibrahim’s roster, where the focus is primarily on emerging artists of African descent from throughout the diaspora. Gibbs joined Mariane Ibrahim earlier this month and will have his first solo show with the gallery in 2021. Impressive, considering the Baltimore-based artist is still working on his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2020).

Jiménez is also represented by Mariane Ibrahim. Born in Hawaii, Jimenez is based in Mexico City. He earned an MFA from the Slade School of Art at the University College London. A solo exhibition with Mariane Ibrahim is forthcoming this year. Also in 2020, Jiménez is appearing in group shows at ICA Los Angeles and Nottingham Contemporary in the UK.

Last year, Spann joined Almine Rech gallery, where he is exclusively represented in Europe and China. His first solo exhibition with Almine Rech, “Vaughn Spann: The Heat Lets us Know We’re Alive,” is currently on view at the gallery’s New York location. (He is also represented in the United States by Half Gallery in New York and has a relationship with Night Gallery in Los Angeles.)

Spann earned an MFA from Yale in 2018 and lives and works in New Haven, Conn., where he is a 2019 Studio Fellow at Next Haven.

Almine Rech also represents Brooklyn-based Jahmal. His first exhibition with the gallery was last September. Reviewing an earlier show in the New York Times, Roberta Smith noted Jahmal’s strengths: “His main love is color, which he uses stunningly, but he exploits everything—space, surface, color, image—to create various incongruities.”

Roberta Smith on Marcus Jahmal: “His main love is color, which he uses stunningly, but he exploits everything—space, surface, color, image—to create various incongruities.”


JONATHAN LYNDON CHASE, “trying on shoes in their bedroom,” 2019 (acrylic paint, glitter, marker, spray paint, glitter; flip flops, high heeled shoes, spray paint, 84.50 h x 72 w x 5D inches). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 

Chicago-based Boyland is on the roster at Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles, where he had his first-ever solo show “Jarvis Boyland: On Hold,” in spring 2019. An alum of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2018), Boyland has an MFA from the University of Memphis. More recently, the 2018-19 artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago was featured in Out magazine’s May 2019 issue dedicated to art.

Philadelphia-based Chase was profiled in GQ last fall. A few years after earning his MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2016), his practice has garnered widespread attention. In 2018, he was an off-site artist-in-residence at the Rubell Foundation in Miami. Last year, Company gallery dedicated its booth in the Frame section of Frieze New York to a suite of large-scale paintings by Chase and the presentation won the art fair’s 2019 Frame Prize.

While each artist has his own style and approach, brought together in “Disembodiment” the work is a clarion call, a “call for the rejection of the objectification and fetishization of the body by using the artists’ unique, personal experiences that contrast with the collective experience.” CT

 

“Disembodiment,” Curated by Mariane Ibrahim is on view at UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, Calif. (Nov. 22, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020).

 

TOP IMAGE: JERRELL GIBBS, “Pac Thugz Mansion,” 2019 (oil on canvas). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 

FIND MORE about the artists on their websites: Jarvis Boyland, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Jerrell Gibbs, Marcus Jahmal, Clotilde Jiménez, Vaughn Spann

 


Installation view of “Disembodiment,” curated by Mariane Ibrahim, at UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, Calif. (Nov. 22, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020). Shown, From left, JARVIS BOYLAND, “Pop Out,” 2019 (oil on canvas, 78 x 50 inches); and JARVIS BOYLAND, “Mood for Love,” 2018 (oil on canvas). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


MARCUS JAHMAL, “Chinatown,” 2019 (oil and pastel on canvas). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


JERRELL GIBBS, “the Lady with the Rosé,” 2019 (oil on canvas). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


Installation view of “Disembodiment,” curated by Mariane Ibrahim, at UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, Calif. (Nov. 22, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


CLOTILDE JIMÉNEZ, “Pose No. 1,” 2019 (charcoal and mixed media collage on paper, 63 x 59 inches). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


CLOTILDE JIMENEZ, “The Contest,” (mixed-media and collage on paper). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


VAUGHN SPANN, “Black Catz,” 2019 (oil paint on canvas stretched on aluminum braces). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


Installation view of “Disembodiment,” curated by Mariane Ibrahim, at UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, Calif. (Nov. 22, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 


JERRELL GIBBS, “Breakthrough,” 2019 (oil on canvas, 60 x 84 inches). | Photo by Jeff McClane, Courtesy UTA Artist Space

 

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