Friday, July 21, 2006

Forefront: Chakaia Booker

National Museum of Women in the Arts
May 26, 2006 - September 4, 2006

Along with the Corcoran's new "hot" exhibitions, redefined and Robert Weingarten 's Palette Series,Washington DC is loaded with powerful exhibitions this summer. The weather may have slowed some folks down in the city but the museums are racheted up to premiere some excellent exhibitions not least of which is the National Museum of Women in Art's, Chakaia Booker in Forefront . Stepping into the one room exhibition space, I was awed with the power of the mammoth pieces made of rubber tires, cut up and recycled into sculptures, powerful objects that address major issues in our society. I highly recommend this experience, a combination of beauty and repulsion that sneaks through the mind to offer an opening, a birth canal of consciousness in a postmodern world.

"In this large one-gallery installation, Chakaia Booker continues her sculptural exploration of the African American experience, feminism, and the work ethic in America. In her a “post-industrial" objects made from automobile tires, Booker develops her own version of environmental consciousness and rehabilitation. At the same time, her works comment upon the industrial machine and what it makes of men and women and their relationships, “the ensuing conditions of unmet needs and desires," as she calls it. Ultimately, her sculptures are barb-tongued images in which formal innovations dovetail with force exercised and force absorbed."

One of her more chaotic works on view "Acid Rain" was featured in The 48th Corcoran Biennial: Closer to Home, March 19 - June 27, 2005..."their surfaces display surprising patterns and can vary from a flat- to a high-gloss finish. The worn treads are particularly evocative, and Booker emphasizes their rich textural quality through her deft deployment of repetition."

Repetition is a major key to the success of this work. Ms. Booker takes a stand on order by creating patterns through the repetition of shapes. Also in reverse, she reminds us that through repetition, repeated communication creates a groove in the mind - whether true or false, a conditioned response, that is forefront in today's world communications. It's an interesting anaolgy to mass media and political mantras.

From a 2001 review at the Marlborough Gallery in NYC....ART IN REVIEW; Chakaia Booker By GRACE GLUECK.
"Chakaia Booker's tough, aggressive signature medium, and in this show they are given even more expressive power. She uses patterned treads, thicknesses, textures, subtle differences in color (steel radials give the most chromatic effect) to different advantage in each object."

Definitely worth a visit!

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