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Simone Leigh and Chris Neal, Done By the Forces of Nature

John Jay College Gallery
899 Tenth Avenue, 3rd Floor, 212-237-8325
Upper West Side
January 27 - February 24, 2007
Reception: Tuesday, February 6, 6 - 8 PM

Done By the Forces of Nature brings together the artwork of Simone Leigh and Chris Neal. The exhibition borrows its title from the 1989 Jungle Brothers album as a starting point to consider issues of Pan- Africanism, sexuality, and process.

Both artists work, represent an evolved consciousness which became prominent during the late 1980’s and 90’s. Using the figure as their primary expressive form, these artists challenge our assumptions through ceramic vessels, sculpture, paintings, and drawings. Their forms and surfaces are energized though the process of scraping, carving, layering, cutting, and firing to reveal dualities of attraction and repulsion.

Simone Leigh’s ceramic sculptures and vessels make reference to traditional ethnographic objects as well as sexuality and the `exotic display’. She references such historical icons as Josephine Baker and her banana dress and Carmen Miranda’s headdress made of tropical fruits.

Chris Neal’s paintings and drawings juxtapose issues of concealment and revelation. Influenced by abstract expressionism, religious iconography and the natural processes of growth and decay, his figures are meditations on our spiritual and physical circumstances. Together these artists display the power and vulnerability of the human form. Rather than espousing a particular agenda, the artwork of Simone Leigh and Chris Neal asks us to contemplate our own relationship to the figures they create.
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