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Body Politics Take Front and Center at Volta NY Art Fair

Eight New York artists craft provocative meditations on the body at 'Something I Can Feel,' an exhibition currently at Volta NY.

Antwaun Sargent

Antwaun Sargent

Andria Morales, Untitled profile pic (on all fours with red Beatpack), 2015, digital image, Beatpacks – modified hard shell backpack, custom speaker components, paracord. Image courtesy of the artist.

At this year’s Volta NY 2016, artist Derrick Adams is using the art fair format—usually meant to sell works of art—to stage an exhibition. The show Something I Can Feel, features works by eight artists, including Shaun Leonardo, Kate Clark, Hugh Hayden, Andria Morales, Doreen Garner, Brandon Coley Cox, Ibrahim Ahmed, Leonardo Benzant and Balint Zsako, that are presented in a gallery format. The artists’ individual works are showcased as eight solo shows that aim to provide a space for museum-level consideration of works curated to exist outside of the commercial confines of the fair.

“When I was invited to curate the exhibition, I considered it an opportunity to highlight artists who were under the radar,” Adams tells The Creators Project. “The materiality, layering, metaphors, and cultural perspectives the works explore, really shows these artists are working in significant ways and that need to be seen in the context of this fair.” Adams explains that the works are “rough around the edges,” because they are meant to evoke an emotional response from the viewer.

Shaun Leonardo, Champ (Mike Tyson), 2014, Charcoal on paper, 25.5 x 66 inches. Image courtesy of the artist

Thematically, the show explores the politics of the body. The works present it as a contested site in transition. Andria Morales’ Untitled profile pic (on all fours with red Beatpack) provides commentary on gender fluidity while Shaun Leonardo’s Champ (Mike Tyson) explores the performance and price of hyper-masculinity. Brandon Coley Cox’s M-B (G)riot or If Y’all Really Knew questions the history, reality, and materiality of a raced body, while Leonardo Benzant’s Paraphernalia Of The Urban Shaman M:5 examines the spiritual qualities within. Collectively, the works include narrative-based figurative works and abstractions as provocative meditations on bodies loaded with desire and possibility.

Leonardo Benzant, Paraphernalia Of The Urban Shaman M:5 (installation view, detail) 2012-14,Clothes/textiles, cardboard tubes, leather, caucasian baby doll, chicken bone, brown barbie doll, horse hair, glitter, coins, powdered-charcoal, saliva, earth, cigar-ash, coffee-grinds, vija/ashiote, powdered-egg-shell, string, wire, monofilament, various plant-bundles, matte-medium, acrylic-ink, rabbit-skin-glue, rice glue, glass seed beads, rum, and miscellaneous. Variable dimensions. Image courtesy of the artist.

“As a curator who also happens to be an artist, these are works that I respond to really well,” Adams explains. “I am hoping the audience sees the reflections of identity, representation, and material manipulation found in the work.” He says, “The commonality is the relationship between the material and the human body.”

Kate Clark, Charmed 2015, Springbok hide, horns, clay, foam, thread, pins, rubber eyes, steel and wood base, printed canvas, 72 x 40 x 23 inches. Image courtesy of the artist

Brandon Coley Cox, M-B (G)riot or If Y'all Really Knew 2014,Handmade paper, string, glitter, acrylic, mica flakes, brown glittery mesh fabric, flashe, acrylic dispersions and powdered tires on gold-coated black linen. 53 x 55 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Something I Can Feel runs through March 6 at Volta NY. For more information, click here.

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