Exhibition

in Los Angeles, CA / United States
16.03.2024 - 18.05.2024 00:00
Alberta Whittle - Learning a new punctuation for hope in times of disaster

Regen Projects is pleased to announce representation of Glasgow-based artist Alberta Whittle. Alberta’s creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-Blackness. Her multi-media practice encompasses drawing, digital collage, film, sculpture, performance, and writing, through which she develops a visual, oral, and textual language that questions accepted Western constructs of history and society. Her public presentations are often choreographed as interactive installations, that speak to the site in which they are being presented and prioritize questions of self-care and compassion, while considering the historic legacies and contemporary expressions of anti-Blackness, colonialism, and migration.

“I am so thrilled Regen Projects will be working with Alberta Whittle,” Shaun Caley Regen said. “I was lucky to meet her in Glasgow in 2022, and her warmth, intelligence, and vision for her work were immediately palpable. Likewise, when I first saw Alberta’s paintings I was taken by their remarkable newness. They are joyous, dynamic, and ebullient in their embrace of craft, folklore, and heritage. There is a freedom in her practice in all the media she embraces, that sends a message of hope amongst the harsh realities of our times, in particular legacies of racism, colonialism, and patriarchy worldwide. Alberta parses all of this and unravels it beautifully, offering an alternative vision and paths to navigate this moment.”

Entitled, “Learning a new punctuation for hope in times of disaster”, Alberta’s exhibition at Regen Projects exemplifies the artist’s interdisciplinary approach to cultivating community and care as an antidote to catastrophes, from ecological collapse to the legacy of anti-Blackness. The exhibition presents “Lagareh – The Last Born”, 2022 for the first time in North America beside a suite of new paintings and sculptural works.

Blending tender portraiture with more abstract passages and symbols, Alberta’s paintings reflect her own lived and embodied experience and desire to cultivate moments of rest, reflection, and kinship with and for others. Often built atop rich, jewel-like grounds, her paintings capture both histories and memories, including Alberta’s recent time in Nigeria, walking the same paths traversed by enslaved peoples on their way to the African coast. Through watery fields and layered, sumptuous juxtapositions, the paintings intertwine these histories with portraits of friends, family memories, and photographs—as well as dreamscapes distinguished by coastal cues or lush flora.

In dialogue with the writings of Christina Sharpe, especially her book “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being”, 2016, Alberta’s paintings recall Jean Rhys’s postcolonial novel “Wide Sargasso Sea”, 1966 and its haunted evocations of a Caribbean Gothic and Donald Rodney’s film “Songs on Pain, Time and Light”, 1995. Textiles, raffia, and other embellishments adorn the paintings, rhyming with similar organic, lacey, and inscriptive patterns internal to them. Wooden fretwork frames bounding the paintings allude to the ornamentation of many homes in Barbados.

Representing Scotland at the 2022 Venice Biennale, Alberta debuted “Lagareh — The Last Born”. The work foregrounds the strength of Black womxn through individual acts of resistance, all united by Alberta’s narrative vision. The film’s title translates between the West African language Mandinka and English, mirroring the translations across contexts and histories the film explores. Shot across several countries, including Scotland, England, Barbados, Sierra Leone, and Italy, the film weaves documentary alongside more lyrical, esoteric sequences, inheriting a filmic and artistic tradition that is both experimental and essayistic. Through its geographic and emotional transit, the film carries viewers on a journey between past and present, aligning disparate and distinct geographies that allude to and index the ongoing devastation and legacy of the transatlantic trade in enslaved peoples and the systemic racism that still shapes contemporary life around the world.

“Taking a breath to rest”, 2022, a sequence of furniture in the shape of punctuation marks (also exhibited in Venice), and a set of sculptural gates that incorporate the phrase “No Humxns Involved” frame and accompany the film. The words reference language used by the LAPD to refer to the murders of people of color in official documents, including those that surfaced to the public after the beating of Rodney King in March 1991 and subsequent acquittal of the officers involved which led to the LA uprisings of April 1992. In the face of such brutalities, “Taking a breath to rest” materializes Alberta’s encouragement to viewers to take care in order to heal, and respond.

Alberta Whittle (b. 1980 Bridgetown, Barbados) lives and works in Glasgow. After studying Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art, she completed a master’s degree at Glasgow School of Art in 2011. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh and Research Associate at The University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Gallery hours Tue–Sat 10 am – 6 pm

Exhibition Duration 16 March – 18 May 2024

www.regenprojects.com

Location:
Regen Projects (Hollywood)
6750 Santa Monica Boulevard
90038 Los Angeles, CA
United States

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