Xaviera Simmons Presents Work at Light Work, UVP
Light Work and Urban Video Project are presenting “Accumulations” and “Number Sixteen,” concurrent exhibitions featuring the work of multidisciplinary artist Xaviera Simmons. The works within these exhibitions present an artist working with—and through—formal languages of performance, video, sculpture, photography and social and art histories.
“Accumulations” presents a group of photographs from Simmons’s “Index/ Composition” series. At first glance, the images emerge as a series of complex and abstract sculptural collages. Closer inspection reveals something else: textiles pulled taut over what appears to be a torso, with a barrage of objects hanging from the body. Fabric, a cache of photographic texture and imagery, feathers, palm fronds and other diverse materials tumble across the center of each photograph—composing an explosion referent to the sculptural within the photographic. “Accumulations” works to both obscure and define the formal qualities of photography by using elements of sculpture, assemblage, chance and other methods to produce the works.
“Number Sixteen” is an hour-long, unedited video documenting a performance produced without an audience that engages endurance, abstraction and the energies beneath abstraction. In the video, a vocalist and performer work together in a studio space. The video’s audience becomes witness to a layered convergence: materials and texts, script and chance, sound and image, time and space, the body and its limits. Like the photographic and sculptural works in “Accumulations,” “Number Sixteen” reveals a complex network of accumulated inspirations, cultural allusions and visceral histories.
“Accumulations” will be on view at Light Work from Jan. 12-March 5. “Number Sixteen” will be on view at UVP Everson from Jan. 15-31. Simmons will deliver a formal artist lecture on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Watson Auditorium, located in the Menschel Media Center across the hallway from Light Work. This lecture is co-sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts Visiting Artist Lecture Series. A reception and informal gallery talk will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 5-7 p.m. at Light Work. Refreshments will be served at the reception. All events are free and open to the public.
Simmons received her B.F.A. from Bard College in 2004, after spending two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the trans-Atlantic slave trade with Buddhist monks. She completed the Whitney Museum’s independent study program in studio art in 2005, while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with the Maggie Flanigan Studio. Simmons has exhibited nationally and internationally. Major exhibitions and performances include the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; MoMA PS1, New York City; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the Public Art Fund, New York City; David Castillo Gallery, Miami; among many others. Her works are in major museum and private collections, including Deutsche Bank, UBS, the Guggenheim Museum, the Agnes Gund Art Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, MOCA Miami and the Perez Art Museum, Miami.