“Art has a way of prompting discussions about difficult subjects. I wanted to put together an exhibition that could address this chaotic moment we are all in.” – Dexter Wimberly
Proposing an alternative view of Atlantic history.
Using drawing, painting, collage and textiles to consider self-identity.
Exploring the way the human body interacts with the environment.
Creating abstract work that lives in the space between order and chaos.
The four artists whose work is collected in the SOCO Gallery exhibit The Round Chaos come from diverse places and backgrounds. They are Adin Kachisi, Senghor Reid, Alex Callender and Jackie Milad.
Curator Dexter Wimberly has brought them together in a show that raises questions about race, identity and the environment. The exhibit’s title, The Round Chaos, is a nod to the way our planet and its inhabitants are navigating through a chaotic time.
Wimberly, who lives in Japan, became familiar with Charlotte through his curatorial work with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. “I wanted to put together an exhibition that could address the social and political chaos of this moment we are all in,” he said.
The Artists Behind the Art
The show contains pieces by two artists who deal with environmental themes.
Harlem-based Kachisi is a self-taught artist with a master’s degree in urban planning. Originally from Zimbabwe, Kachisi mixes acrylic paint with coffee residue, creating abstract works that may remind viewers of looking up into the clouds or flying over land.
Two paintings by Reid depict humans wading in water, a resource whose safety and availability has been the subject of ongoing controversy in his home state of Michigan.
Scenes of Caribbean colonialism in Massachusetts-based Callender’s work are a challenge to rethink history and the labor of women.
“She’s placing female figures front and center in the context of her work,” Wimberly said. “She’s saying everything that we know was built by everyone who came before us. She is pushing back against the erasure of history, making sure that the labor that was necessary to build the world we know is not marginalized.”
Questions of history and identity are also central to the work of Baltimore-based Milad, whose mixed-media works play with symbols of her Egyptian and Honduran roots.
“I can spend hours looking at her work, unpacking all of the symbols and the language she’s using,” Wimberly said. “It’s exciting; you’re sort of deciphering a code in many ways.”
Also included in the exhibition are a number of smaller pieces that Milad calls “remnants” born from larger works.
“She’s done something that’s challenging for any artist to do, and that’s carve out a specific language for her work that is immediately recognizable,” Wimberly said, noting Charlotte residents will have an opportunity to see more of Milad’s art when she completes a summer residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.
Art Invites Discussion
Although the exhibit invites discussions about complex social issues, Wimberly hopes viewers will just stop for a few minutes and enjoy the beauty of bright, engaging, eye-catching new art.
“The main thing I wanted to create was simply a beautiful, compelling exhibition,” said Wimberly. “It’s a beautiful show, it’s inspiring, it’s great to see work no one has seen before. I want people to feel it was worth the trip.”
The Round Chaos is on display at SOCO Gallery until June 12.
Embrace The (Round) Chaos
SOCO Gallery: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM
Adin Kachisi: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM
Senghor Reid: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM
Alex Callender: WEBSITE
Jackie Milad: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM
Dexter Wimberly: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM
*The featured image is All the Things We Know About Time by Alex Callender. Courtesy of SOCO Gallery.
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