For the inaugural exhibition of its new gallery space, MARCH presents an installation of self-portraits by sixteen artists with whom they have worked over the years.
Pre-Renovation Potluck unites the works of Hawkins Bolden, Bruce Burris, Thornton Dial, Olive Hayes, Y. Malik Jalal, Leasho Johnson, Claudia Keep, Evelyn Massengill, Guy Mendes, Jiha Moon, Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso, Dianna Settles, Aaron Michael Skolnick, Mary T. Smith, Lina Tharsing, and Mose Tolliver, around the metaphorical table of our new brick-and-mortar location before the architects and builders have their way.
Mary T. Smith
A poor child of Mississippi condemned to the hardest work, this African-American woman began, in the evening of her life, a work that resembles a real graphic blues. Mary T Smith gave shape to her personal cosmology by painting on sheets of corrugated iron and wooden panels arranged around her house. Her “solar aesthetic” - says Daniel Soutif - and her powerfully elementary modes of representation made a strong impression on Basquiat. Now considered an emblematic figure of American art brut, her works have been added to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington) and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta).
Hawkins Bolden, half Creole and partially Native American, went blind at the age of 8 after a baseball accident. The small house he lived in in the city was stuck between a car wash and a high brick wall. In the shade of this wall, there was a small garden that Bolden loved and protected from external aggression with “scarecrows” that he made with found objects. These sculptures were embedded in the ground and had faces made of car wheel covers, metal pots and metal plate ends. Each surface was pierced with holes and decorated with rubber hose ends and pieces of carpet.
Thornton Sr. Dial
Thornton Dial, Sr. was born in Emmel, Alabama in 1928. Over a period of thirty years, he worked onand-off for the Pullman Standard Company, a company known for manufacturing metal railroad cars. Dial lives in Bessemer, Alabama where he is the patriarch of a clan of artists and an accomplished painter and sculptor. All of Dial’s work emerges from a tireless mining of his own experience and of the events of our time. His use of materials – fencing, cow bones, corn stalks, scrap metal, pottery shards, birdbaths, clothing, stuffed animals, rope, carpet, and unusual combinations of paints and stains – renders his work by turns raw and lyrical.
Mose Tolliver grew up in the Pike Road Community in Alabama, born to a family of sharecropper’s. In the late 1960’s, a load of marble crushed his legs and almost killed him. The accident left him unable to work. In 1970, at the encouragement of his former employer, he began to paint. Developing a signature wet-on-wet technique, Tolliver began painting animals, people, plants, fruits and vegetables, all in flat perspective, stylistically refined as elementary shapes and symbols.
Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso
This Cuban artist has no other means of expression than that of her creation. The walls of her home, where she lives with her mother, are covered with drawings of bodybuilders, brown tape scattered along the outlines. A true community of men, women, hermaphrodites and wildlife, Misleidys has built her sociality through her work. Discovered by the gallery in 2014, she has been featured in more than 10 international exhibitions since 2018, including New Images of Man in Los Angeles, Flying High in Vienna, and Independent in New York. Acclaimed by Matthew Higgs and Karen Wong (New Museum, NYC), the artist has been the subject of recent reviews in the New York Times and Art in America.