Chiffon Thomas: Progeny
1227 North Highland Ave Los Angeles, CA 90038
Thursday, June 20 at 5:00 PM 7:00 PM
Ends Aug 17, 2024
Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to announce Progeny, an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Chiffon Thomas. For his second exhibition with the gallery, Thomas will present a group of monumental architectural sculptures, a body of work continuing from his recent solo exhibition, The Cavernous, at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. This series will be his latest presentation in Los Angeles since his participation in the Hammer Museum’s biennial Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living. The exhibition will be on view from June 20 through August 17, 2024. At the core of the exhibition are two monumental concrete obelisks inverted to place the stability of the structures onto a spillage of life-casted cascading feet, replicated and amalgamated together to behave as a dense, impenetrable element. Casted by Thomas himself, the anonymous appendages act as signifiers for overall forms, and memorialize the labor of precursors and histories unknown. In this approach to stabilization, Thomas addresses the precarious nature of humanity, while also representing ancestral strength, legacy and endurance of life among marginalized groups by referencing existing contemporaries. Other works in the exhibition expand on Thomas’ pursuit of representing “impossible bodies.” Influenced by the evolution of biomimicry, he constructs free-standing pyramids from anatomical forms that render as ancient structures. The biomorphic sculptures tether stained glass with sutured skin; a post-human symbiosis of the organic and inorganic that recall Thomas’ fascination with ecclesiastical imagery. Citing Martin Puryear’s bulbous forms and Louise Bourgeois’ merging of homes with human forms, Thomas states: “I want skin to perform as architecture, and architecture to perform something bodily.” Chiffon Thomas’ explorative practice encompasses embroidery, collage, sculpture, drawing, performance, and installation. Amy Smith-Stewart, Curator at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, elaborates on Thomas’ interdisciplinary approach to his work in a recent publication: “…interrogating a legacy of colonization, Black injustice, and classism in the US, Thomas entwines matters resonant with personal and collective histories of trauma and repair, as well as resilience and transformation.” In his 2021 exhibition with the gallery, Antithesis, Thomas used figurative assemblages to interpret feelings of nostalgia, metamorphosis, and decay; this new body of work is not so much a departure, but rather an enunciation of the artist’s practice as a sculptor. Since opening his first show with Michael Kohn Gallery three years ago, Thomas has been featured in a solo exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and the Hammer Biennial Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living. In 2022, he was awarded the Joan Mitchell Fellowship. Thomas’ work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; and Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; among others. Artwork: Chiffon Thomas, Untitled, 2024, bronze, stained glass and steel, 18 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches
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