“Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” @ Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham, NC, through July 16
Abney first garnered notice in 2008, when her work was included in the traveling exhibition “30 Americans,” organized by the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. Among the works in that show was Class of 2007, in which she depicted her MFA class as African American inmates in orange jumpsuits to comment on incarceration, race and inherent inequities in higher education.
Her work is informed by mainstream news media, cartoons, video games, hip-hop culture, celebrity websites and tabloid magazines. She has said that her densely packed paintings are “easy to swallow, hard to digest.” Vanity Fair magazine named her as one of the leading artists of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Abney was born in Chicago and currently resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. She earned her BFA in 2004 from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, and her MFA in 2007 from Parsons School of Design in New York.
This 10-year survey at the Nasher features 30 paintings, watercolors and collages, as well as a site-specific mural. After the Nasher, it will travel to the Chicago Cultural Center (February 10–May 6, 2018); Los Angeles, where it will be jointly presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the California African American Museum (September 23, 2018–January 20, 2019); and the Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY-Purchase College (April 7–August 4, 2019).
Jordan Casteel: “Harlem Notes” @ The Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, January 28 through July 8
“Jordan Casteel: Harlem Notes” features large-scale portraits of family, friends, and neighbors of the Harlem-based painter that reveal the intimate bonds that developed between the artist and her subjects.
Born in Denver, Casteel received her BA in studio art from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, in 2011 ,and her MFA in painting and printmaking from the Yale School of Art in 2014. She has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo (2015), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space on Governors Island (2015), the Studio Museum in Harlem (2015), and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, in DUMBO, Brooklyn (2016). She teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and is represented by Casey Kaplan Gallery.
Jonathan VanDyke: “The Invert” @ Tops Gallery in Memphis through May 20
The exhibition title recalls Freud’s term for a homosexual, which implied a distortion that could be “straightened out.” VanDyke plays with the notions of displacement and inversion in body-oriented works such as Blue Lines. To create it, two dancers rolled over paint-dipped ropes on raw canvas, creating gestures reminiscent of Cy Twombly and Yves Klein. Another canvas inspired by Renaissance paintings of self-flagellating saints was made by striking canvas with paint-soaked whips, then cutting it into pieces and sewing it back together in a quilt pattern. The whips themselves appear in another wooden wall sculpture. For the photographic multipart piece Self Portrait as My Mother, as an Actress, as a Painter, as a Stranger, a performer showed up at the exhibition opening with paint dripping from her purse. The paint stains her dress and slowly trickles through a manhole at street level and into Tops Gallery’s below-ground space, leaving behind a trail of color on the gallery walls and floor.
VanDyke received his MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School at Bard College. He also studied at the Glasgow School of Art, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is on the faculty of the Low-Residency and Devised Performance MFA programs at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Sotheby’s Institute in New York.
Kirsten Stolle: “Disarm” @ SECCA in Winston-Salem, April 25 through May 21
“Disarm” is a collage and drawing project examining the historical legacy and impact of the Cold War-era US Nike missile program within a 21st-century framework. Disarm re-purposes and neutralizes abandoned military spaces through archival photographs, collage, ink, and gouache. Images of underground missile silos, decontamination showers, guard stations, launch pads, and missiles are transformed into places of growth and activation.
Kirsten Stolle’s research-based practice is grounded in the investigation of corporate propaganda, environmental politics, and biotechnology. Her work examines the global influence of agrochemical and pharmaceutical corporations on our food supply and considers the connection between corporate interests and public health.
Stolle received a BA in visual arts from Framingham State University in Massachusetts and completed studies at Richmond College in London and Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. She lives and works in Marshall, North Carolina.