Sam Vernon, Think On It –Then Lay It Down For Good
March 30 – April 23, 2011
BROOKLYN, NY March 2011 – A.I.R. Gallery is pleased to announce Think On It—Then Lay It Down For Good, an exhibition by Sam Vernon 2010-2011 A.I.R. Fellowship Artist and Emma Bee Bernstein Fellow. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 31, 2011, from 6pm to 8pm. Additionally, A.I.R. Gallery will host “Among Women,” an event organized by Vernon featuring the work of women engaged in literature and activism, on Sunday, April 10, 2011.
Vernon pays homage to the past and revises the traditional ghost story, addressing questions of postcoloniality, racialization, and historical memory. She employs a complex, ongoing integration of drawings in pen and ink, Xerox-copy technology, collage, and installation. Her work is a formal and ideological exploration into polar opposition. By means of the machine, text-inspired images are construed into rich black lines against white pages. She interprets such themes as violence, cultural exile, detachment, womanhood, sexuality, and the psychology of blackness.
For her first solo exhibition, Vernon contextualizes her universe of characterized bodies as actors in a staged drama. The performers consist of an audience of spirit members sleeping, watching, playing and waiting; Clusters and crowds of female figures, ghosts, creatures, and patterns resembling dark clouds form a cheerful celebration of suffering. Emphasizing repetition and abstraction derived from historical narrative, leaves of willow trees swaying, rivers, forests, fields, and the spirit of a monochromatic, archetypal southern landscape unfold.
“A person very dear to me recently suggested that I read Toni Morrison’s essay ‘The Site of Memory’ again,” Vernon says. “I think my work is tied up in Morrison’s words about how the act of imagination is bound up with memory. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” Think On It—Then Lay It Down For Good is longing, fear and memory translated onto fragile sheets. Ghosts congeal and bodies form in dark corners and hang about whispering until the inflection of their voices can be heard among the living.
Sam Vernon graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2009 with an award for excellence in drawing. In 2010, Vernon was selected to execute a large-scale mural by the City of New York’s Department of Transportation to be installed under the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO, Brooklyn. She is curating a Recent Graduate Exhibition at the Spring 2011 Affordable Art Fair in conjunction with the “Art x Women” project May 4-8. Vernon’s work will be featured in Art & Lies (April 1-14, 2011), a group exhibition curated by Risa Shoup at The Invisible Dog Art Center and this summer, she will exhibit a site-specific installation at the Wassaic Old Hotel. Fall 2011, her work will be on view in Limited Engagement, a group exhibition curated by Krista Saunders at Lesley Heller Workspace. Vernon is currently Development and Marketing Manager of Contemporary Art at BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn.