Current Exhibitions

Ilana Harris-Babou: Liquid Gold

Monday, January 30 – Sunday, March 5, 2023


Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, North Gallery
283 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut

Hours:
Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 5pm
View the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for the Center for the Arts.

 

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Liquid Gold is the first chapter in a series of installations by artist Ilana Harris-Babou. Referring to the value assigned to human breastmilk, Liquid Gold looks at the history of breastfeeding as it has been narrativized, advertised, and suggested for Black mothers in America. Like other projects by Harris-Babou, this exhibition, composed of both a video installation and a sculpture, examines the consumerism and complexity of the wellness industry, while bringing attention to the racialized social structures that create the parameters for an individual’s agency in making personal health decisions.

Installed in the North Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, a single-channel video work by Harris-Babou is made with a shallow depth of field, close and textured, constructing an intimate space for viewing in the gallery. The sound for the video, calibrated to the acoustic resonance of the gallery space, remixes the lullaby “All the Pretty Little Horses.” The lyrics and the surround sound presentation of the song also suggest a closeness but amidst a deep loss, holding out the promise that when the child awakes, they will have ‘all the pretty little horses.’ The song is commonly understood to have originated as a lullaby sung by enslaved Black mothers when they would leave their children alone in order to care for their enslaver’s white children. In the passageway approaching the video installation, Harris-Babou installs a sculpture containing ceramic components and other materials derived from historical devices originally designed to aid nursing and breastfeeding, playfully and critically examining the experience and industry of motherhood. Sound and production support was provided by Reese Chahal and Anna Clock.

Ilana Harris-Babou (b. 1991, Brooklyn, New York) lives and works in Brooklyn and Middletown, Connecticut. She has a new video work that will be exhibited as part of the group show Milk at the Wellcome Collection, London (2023). She has presented solo exhibitions of her work at institutions including Artspace New Haven (2022); Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (2021); Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland (2021); Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2020); and The Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York (2017). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions including Contact Traces, California College of the Arts Wattis Institute, San Francisco, California (2021); Care Box, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2021); and After the Plaster Foundation, Queens Museum, Corona, New York (2020). She has participated in major exhibitions including the Istanbul Design Biennial, Turkey (2020); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York (2019). Harris-Babou is an Assistant Professor of Art and Luther Gregg Sullivan Fellow in Art at Wesleyan University.

Image: Ilana Harris-Babou, from Liquid Gold.

 

Related Events

Opening Reception: Ilana Harris-Babou—Liquid Gold
Monday, January 30, 2023 at 4:30pm

Artist talk by Ilana Harris-Babou
Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 4:30pm

 

 

Carrie Yamaoka: seeing is forgetting and remembering and forgetting again

Monday, January 30 – Sunday, March 5, 2023


Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Main Gallery
283 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut

Hours:
Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 5pm
View the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for the Center for the Arts.

 

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Carrie Yamaoka’s solo exhibition in the Main Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, seeing is forgetting and remembering and forgetting again, presents a body of work at the intersection of drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture that references the effects of memory on visuality. This presentation marks the artist’s return to a gallery space in which she exhibited her senior thesis project in 1979, shortly after the gallery had opened in its present space. In a series of site visits over the summer of 2022, Yamaoka made rubbings of the gallery walls onto mylar and photographed in the gallery. Slides of these images will be presented with an analog slide projector projected onto mylar, one element of a larger installation work. The rubbings of the gallery developed into wall based-works in the artist’s studio, recording the history of invisible mark making on the gallery walls. Also included in the exhibition are reconfigurations of previous works by the artist. In recent years Yamaoka has been revisiting works, actively altering their state by separating surfaces from their substrates and recomposing the components to create new works that retain traces of their history.

The material presence of Yamaoka’s work combines different media through non-traditional processes, often alluding to, or even using aspects of, photography. Images produced through the work are often only activated through the act of display and the reflection of the exhibition space and its viewers. Rather than alluding to photography’s association with the record, Yamaoka often reduces the record of information in the image through suspension in other materials, rubbing, or chemical transformation. These erasures create, or remember, new ways of being in time. The surfaces of her works, sometimes abraded, sometimes suspended in resin, or both, slow down the re-production of an image enough to allow an opening for memory, for forgetting and remembering.

Carrie Yamaoka ’79 is a New York-based visual artist whose work traverses the disciplines of painting, photography, and sculpture. She is interested in the topography of surfaces, materiality, and process, the tactility of the barely visible, and the chain of planned and chance incidents that determine the outcome of the object. Her work engages the viewer at the intersection between records of chemical action/reaction and the desire to apprehend a picture emerging in fleeting and unstable states of transformation. Exhibitions include the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), MoMA/PS1 (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Fondation Ricard (Paris), the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Artists Space (New York), the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (New York), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Writing about her work has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, Hyperallergic, Interview, and Bomb. Her work is included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Henry Art Gallery, and Centre Pompidou. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and an Anonymous Was A Woman award. Yamaoka is represented by Commonwealth and Council (Los Angeles). She is a founding member of the queer art collective fierce pussy.

Image (detail): Carrie Yamaoka, 40 by 40 (wall), 2022. Photography by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.

 

Related Events

Opening Reception: Carrie Yamaoka—seeing is forgetting, and remembering, and forgetting, again
Monday, January 30, 2023 at 4:30pm

Artist Conversation: Carrie Yamaoka and Claire Grace
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 4:30pm