February 14 – April 14
Opening reception: February 10, 2 – 5 PM
The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery was pleased to present Gravity, a solo exhibition by David Alekhuogie (b. 1985, Los Angeles, CA).
The exhibition featured a series of newly-commissioned works that used gravity as a metaphor for human struggle. This included a series of backboard paintings, produced by the artist’s repeated attempts to jump and hit the canvas with his hand. The strenuous mark-making of this gesture, one that emulates the physical movements of a basketball player, undercut the apparent precision of minimalist painting. In these works, physical striving and falling became a metaphor for the precariousness of freedom in America, a much mythologized notion that remains out of reach for many.
Gravity also included a number of photographs of models wearing low-slung pants that reveal the top of their underwear, a trope of urban hip hop culture that has been widely censured and even criminalized in some cities. The torsos in these photographs were juxtaposed with a series of concrete sculptures that have been cast from unclothed male underwear mannequins, a nude that is generally viewed as benign. Here Alekhuogie pointed to the ways in which black and brown bodies are singled out for containment and control.
The underwear motif was reframed in an installation of new mural photographs that Alekhuogie created by cropping the image and reducing it to horizontal swathes of color and fabric. Captured in diffuse light and printed on satin, these normally contentious garments became abstracted, painterly images that blur the line between flat photograph and sculptural object. The artist illustrated how transgressive imagery can be rendered palatable through artistic devices.
Alekhuogie explored the formal and conceptual history of media technologies and their impact on identity politics today. His recent work examined the visual poetics underlying the way intersecting cultures consciously and unconsciously assign value to race, and gender in America. Trained primarily as a photographer, Alekhuogie took a multidisciplinary research approach that spans textiles, collage, video, photography, and sculpture.
David Alekhuogie received an MFA from Yale University in 2015 and a BA from The School of the Art institute Of Chicago in 2013. Alekhuogie’s work has been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally. His work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Aperture, ArtReview, Time, Vice and The Los Angeles Times.