NEW YORK––Brooklyn-based, Chicago-born artist––and winner of the 2018 Hugo Boss prize––Simone Leigh‘s first significant solo New York gallery show at Luhring Augustine (September 8 – October 20, 2018) features a new body of sculptural work expanding upon her earlier Anatomy of Architecture series, in which recurring vessel, cowrie shells and bust forms made symbolic reference to the black body.
With a practice based in object-based exploration of vernacular visual traditions of the black diaspora experience, Leigh’s show features multi-layered references to black feminist discourse, ethnographic research, post-colonial theory and racial politics, the gallery writes adding the artist “relates quotidian objects to bodies, and labor to performance, exploring tropes of beauty, utility, agency, desire, and possession.”
In these works she draws upon disparate, seemingly anachronistic histories of ancient Roman-Egyptian and more recent American vernacular art and architecture, with a focus on the anthropomorphic features of objects and their relationship to specific functions.
From a 200 BC bronze “Vase and lid in the form of a Nubian boy”, to face jugs produced by enslaved African American potters in South Carolina, and to Mammy’s Cupboard – a Mississippi café housed in the figure of a woman’s skirt, Leigh’s new ceramic sculptures parse how these objects emblematize and problematize space in regard to the body, fusing and implicating the human form with architecture.
The exhibition wrapped up just as Leigh received the prestigious Hugo Boss prize.
Leigh is the 12th artist to receive the biennial Hugo Boss prize, which is named after its fashion company sponsor. The distinction carries an award of $100,000 as well as a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in April 2019.
About the artist: Leigh was born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. She is a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize (2018); and a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant (2018), Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize (2017), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2016), and Herb Alpert Award for Visual Art (2016). Recent projects and exhibitions include Trigger: Gender as a Tool and as a Weapon (2017) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Psychic Friends Network (2016) at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London; The Waiting Room (2016) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Free People’s Medical Clinic (2014) a project commissioned by Creative Time; inHarlem, a public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York; and a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
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