How to see in the dark

How to see in the dark looks to artists who share an interest in the politics of visibility. Toward these concerns, these artists make use of aesthetic and conceptual strategies that privilege the opaque, encrypted, or clandestine. Works in the exhibition negotiate tensions between representation and abstraction, assimilation and interference, action and withdrawal, mastery and unknowing. Folding into darkness, the exhibition invests in improvisational choreographies of refusal and failure, finding respite in the dissolution of figure-ground, near and far, and the thwarting of an easy read.

 

Artists

Priyanka Dasgupta and Chad Marshall began collaborating in 2015. Their work is located in the gaps between history and story-telling, and draws from archival texts, sociological conventions, oral histories, postmodern theory and postcolonial studies to examine power and privilege in the United States and its relationship with image and appearance. Dasgupta and Marshall are currently developing installations inspired by the histories of Bengali sailors who passed as Black in the early twentieth century. Exhibitions of their collaborative work include Sunroom Project Space: Paradise at Wave Hill, New York (2018), Not an edge but a hinge at Abrons Arts Center, New York (2018), In Practice: Another Echo at Sculpture Center, New York (2018), Loving Blackness and A More Perfect Union at the Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia (2017), Ornate Activate at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee (2017) and Shirin Gallery, New York (2015). Current and recent residencies include the Artist Studio Program at Smack Mellon (2018) and AIRspace at Abrons Arts Center (2018). At this time, Dasgupta and Marshall are developing work for an upcoming show at the University of Georgia, Athens.

 

Kerry Downey is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in New York City. Downey’s work explores the relationship between states of embodiment and forms of power. Downey works primarily in video with a practice that includes printmaking, drawing, writing, and performance. They’ve recently had a solo show at CAVE in Detroit and two-person shows at Knockdown Center and 20|20 Gallery in New York City. They have exhibited at the Queens Museum, Flushing, NY; the Hessel Museum at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; Cooper Cole, Toronto, CA, and Taylor Macklin, Zurich, CH. Downey is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant. Artist-in-residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Madison, ME), Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, NY; SHIFT at EFA Project Space, New York, NY; the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, New York, NY; Real Time and Space, Oakland, CA; and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT. Downey participated in the Queer/Art/Mentorship program in 2013. Their work has been in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, The Washington Post, and Lookie-Lookie. Downey holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College.

 

Baseera Khan is a New York-based artist whose work shares experiences of exile and kinship shaped by economic, pop cultural, and political situations. She mixes consumerism with spirituality and treats decolonial histories, practices, and archives as geographies of the future. Khan has installed work at Aspen Museum of Art, Sculpture Center’s In Practice: Another Echo exhibition (2018), Participant Inc’s exhibition iamuslima (2017) that toured to Moudy Gallery at Texas Christian University (2017) and Fine Arts Center of Colorado College (2017-18). She performed at Whitney Museum of Art, Queens Museum, and ArtPop Montreal International Music Festival (2017). Khan is a current artist in residence at Pioneer Works (2018-19). She completed an artist in residence at Abrons Art Center (2016-17), International Travel Fellowship to Jerusalem/Ramallah through Apexart (2015), and Process Space artist in residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2015). Khan is an alumni of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2014) and is a recipient of NYSCA/NYFA (2018). She is published in Artforum Magazine, Art in America, Bomb Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Unbag, and TDR: The Drama Review. She received an M.F.A. at Cornell University (2012) and B.F.A. from the University of North Texas (2005).

 

Tuesday Smillie is a visual artist, living and working in New York. At the core of her work is a question about the individual and the group: the binary of inclusion and exclusion and the porous membrane between the two. Recently she has shown at the New Museum, the Rose Art Museum, and Participant Inc. This fall Smillie was awarded the Rose Museum’s Perlmutter Award. She has been an Art Matters grantee and was the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art’s first Resident Artist. Her work has been featured in ArtForum, New York Magazine, Art News and on Boston Public Radio.

 


Christian Camacho-LightLight is a curator and writer based in New York. They have recently organized exhibitions at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, New York, NY; Abrons Arts Center, New York, NY; Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; The Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ; Knockdown Center, Queens, NY; The International Studio & Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY; and the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. They are a 2017-2018 AIRspace curator-in-residence at Abrons Arts Center. They hold an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and a BA in Art History from Vassar College.

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, a program of Artists Alliance Inc, was founded in 2001 to foster a deeper connection between contemporary art and the local community, to provide an alternative space within the Essex Street Market to showcase emerging artists and emerging ideas, and to serve as a platform for curators to challenge dominant exhibition models.

Abrons Arts Center’s AIRspace Residency is made possible through the generosity of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation.
Image: Installation image by Bill Massey.