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Three Solo Exhibitions

Smack Mellon
92 Plymouth Street, corner of Washington, 718-834-8761
November 22, 2008 - January 4, 2009
Reception: Saturday, November 22, 5 - 8 PM
Web Site

Wayne Hodge, The Original Comedy

My work is influenced by early modern history, particularly the history of the cinema. I re-edit silent films, juxtaposing my own video and my own performances with appropriated images from these historic films. While building on this foundation, I explore the mask as a site in which representations of race and identity are performed. I investigate archaic popular cultural forms such as the minstrel and the “primitive” by meshing older cultural source material with digital technology and, as a result, I play with and displace ideologies associated with this imagery within popular culture.

A photograph of the blackface minstrel performer Bert Williams (1875-1922) is the main source material for The Original Comedy. Williams was an important and controversial figure, who broke the color barrier on Broadway by becoming the first Black performer in the Ziegfeld Follies. He was an important figure in the history of theater, Caribbean/African-American history and the history of New York. I have reproduced a photograph of Williams performing on stage both as a still image and as a film. In the iconic image he looks toward a costumed creature with a mix of suspicion and curiosity. In my photograph and video, I perform a dual role: one as Bert in his character “Mr. Nobody” and one as the bizarre costumed animal that shares the stage with him. The image reads on two levels: it is a spectacular association of the Black performer (Williams) with that of the animal and it is an insightful critique of Williams’ role sharing the stage with an effigy of an animal. By performing the two roles, I create a dialogue between these positions both inside and outside of the narrative of the source photograph to reference larger issues of celebrity, representation and the ways in which we become defined by spectacle culture.

Wayne Hodge works in performance, video and film. His work is based in a historical evocation of Modernism and the early years of cinema as well as issues surrounding race and masculinity. He has shown works internationally and received awards from Creative Capital, NYFA, and Art Matters Foundation. Hodge has participated in residencies at Skowhegan, as well as the A.I.M Program at the Bronx Museum. He received his BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and his MFA from Rutgers University. He also completed the Whitney Independent Study Program and is a current Studio Program Artist at Smack Mellon.

Joanna Malinowska, Les aventures dans le code § 120.45

My artwork is largely devoted to explorations in the world of music –whether building sound installations, arranging music performances in the context of visual art, making documentary on an Inuit Elvis impersonator, constructing video narratives for existing music pieces or collaborating with composers on creating new ones. The project Les aventures dans le code § 120.45 addresses music in an indirect and perhaps more humorous way. It focuses on the figure of renowned Polish-Hungarian classical pianist Piotr Anderszewski. Mr. Anderszewski is an unaware and unsuspecting central character in the series of videos documenting diligently premeditated yet seemingly accidental and spontaneous encounters between the pianist and characters invented for the purpose of the project.

Les aventures dans le code § 120.45 is simultaneously an exercise in chance and probability, an attempt to inject magic realism in Mr. Anderszewski’s life, a spy story, a diary of relentless paparazzo, and perhaps a form of commentary on the omnipresent obsession with celebrities. The idea for this piece was in a way inspired by the pianist himself who – in interviews – frequently speaks of his own reliance on chance and accidents and often retells an autobiographical story of spying on his hero musician Swiatoslaw Richter.

Joanna Malinowska is a Polish-born, New York based artist working in video, sculpture, sound and performance. A graduate of Rutgers University’s BFA program and Yale University’s MFA program, she has exhibited her work in the United States and internationally. She participated in the 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia and the International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic and has shown her work at such venues as Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; Zamek Ujazdowski Contemporary Art Center in Warsaw, Poland; Sculpture Center, Momenta Art and Art in General in New York, NY; Boston Center for the Arts; Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis, MN; Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT. Her solo and two person exhibitions took place at Canada and Venetia Kapernekas galleries in New York City. She participated in residences at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Smack Mellon.

Jessica Ann Peavy, Rituals of Consumption: Leviticus rowed the boat ashore

I investigate the language, gestures, and iconography that define historical and contemporary African-American culture. Popular music, sexually stylized advertising found in music videos and publications such as King, Smooth, and Maxim, and Blaxploitation films all form the foundation for my exploration of African-American female performance. I employ layered imagery, multiple screens/projections, dialogues, and audio tracks simultaneously to address the sensory overload of contemporary American culture. I document myself and/or other African- American women using monologues, repeated phrases, and gestures to deliver satirical, yet highly personal performances.

The Fatback Series explores the spaces and contexts of food in the African-American tradition and the effects of food on the African-American female psychology and physiology. Rituals of Consumption: Leviticus rowed the boat ashore is a 3-channel video installation in the Fatback Series that investigates the fantasies, desires, and rituals of consumption (food, faith, space, and sexuality).

Each of the channels moves across the wall until at various points, a channel changes direction or they switch places, constructing an alternate narrative or challenge to the ritual. I seek to illustrate religious interruptions in the West African folk traditions.

The backgrounds of each video are photographs taken of vast landscapes and meal preparations in West Africa while the subject, I, an African-American, recites repetitious phrases from Leviticus which dictates the code for cleanliness in food intake and the laws for sexual activity. This work references ritual satire performance in the context of West African folk culture, which focuses on the use of verbal aggression. I am interested in how this historical ritual affects the African-American female performance.

Jessica Ann Peavy was born in Columbus, Ohio and currently lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and completed an MFA in Photography, Video, and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts. Peavy has exhibited in galleries, museums, and festivals across the country including Rush Arts Gallery, Brooklyn Arts Council, The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, as well as the International Black Media Festival in London. Peavy has also been invited to speak at the CUNY Graduate Center, Cinewomen NY on the role of women in film and video, and Columbia University’s Conversations Across Cultures Conference. Peavy has been granted residencies at Smack Mellon and Harvestworks and received grants from Franklin Furnace and the New York State Council of the Arts.
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