Ramis Barquet Gallery is pleased to present Honorable Ordinaries, Rashaad Newsome’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, featuring new collage, sculpture, video and performance.
Newsome’s work examines the visual language of power and status, juxtaposing high and low references to challenge received notions of social protocol and hierarchy. A self-described Composer, he adapts the Herald’s formalized language of blazoning to construct armorial identities built entirely of fetishized desire. His work explores established social ideologies through the re-appropriation and blending of seemingly contradictory cultural material and conflicting modes of social signification. Hip-hop, Pop culture and gilded neoclassicism are fused together seamlessly to form contemporary coded representations of rank.
In Honorable Ordinaries, the coded language of Newsome’s collage expands beyond the two-dimensional plane. Set within the traditional running ornament of their elaborate period frames nestle carvings of Cuban chain, microphones, Yankees caps and dollar signs, aged and gilded to avoid detection by all but the discerning eye. Candy painted floral carvings glimmer like pimped-out car bodies, while in the Venus de Video, a triumphant fully armed video girl, framed by four pearlescent painted scallop shells, emerges like a contemporary Goddess from an ocean of simulated bling.
The focus of the exhibition is Pursuivant, a large-scale video installation featuring Newsome and the Windsor Herald exploring the history of heraldry to a hip-hop soundtrack at the Royal College of Arms in London. Housed in a neo-classical frame, re-shaped to form a massive armorial shield with a gilded baseball cap crown, the video peaks with an urban knighthood in an abandoned church in New York.
Rashaad Newsome was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he received a B.A. in Art History at Tulane University before studying Film at Film Video Arts in New York City. Newsome has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including; PS1MoMA, NY; Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; and Ar/Ge Kunst Galerie Museum, Italy. Recent Commissions and awards include: “Shade Compositions 2010, PS1MoMA, NY; Status Symbols #22, Atlantic Records, NY; 2011 Pilchuck Glass School Artist in Residence, WA and 2009 Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Visual Arts Grant, NY.