Exhibitions | 31-10-2023

A Two-Way Mirror exhibition features work by black artists

A new exhibition at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, US, features the work of contemporary Black artists who have used glass to deconstruct and interrogate social, cultural, gender and racial identity constructs.

‘A Two-Way Mirror: Double Consciousness in Contemporary Glass by Black Artists’, is on view until Autumn 2024. The artists range in background from African American, to British, to Puerto Rican, each using glass to reflect thoughts and bodies that have historically been exploited. Due to its reflectivity and translucence, glass is an apt medium to interrogate identity constructs, such as the theory of double consciousness presented by W.E.B. Dubois in his work, The Souls of Black Folk.

Exhibition curator Jabari Owens-Bailey commented, “I proposed this exhibition because I wanted to see what artists of colour were already doing in the medium and what they had the potential to say. I found the medium to be so rich for exploring personal identity, and it provides the opportunity to look at oneself. So, I looked for myself in the medium of glass and I found A Two-Way Mirror.”

Glass art has been largely inaccessible for historically marginalised groups. This has been, in large part, due to racial oppression, the cost of production,and the class division between artist and artisan. It is the museum’s hope that ‘A Two-Way Mirror’ will create a space in which to explore this inequity and offer works by artists of African descent, which tell the artists’ own stories.

Many of the pieces in the exhibition are abstract, while others are representational. Each of the exhibiting artists uses glass as a proxy for a body, portrait, mental state, or historical trope. Dubois’ idea of double consciousness is explored as the glass functions as a metaphorical structure for that which is both seen and unseen.

Artists include Anthony Amoako-Attah, Radcliffe Bailey, Layo Bright, Crystal Z Campbell, Chris Day, Cheryl Derricotte, Alejandro Guzman, Mildred Howard, Jason McDonald, Parfums de Vigny, Ebony G Patterson, Pellatt & Green, Related Tactics, Salviati and Company, Joyce J Scott, Shikeith, Therman Statom, Renée Stout, Barbara Earl Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Leo Tecosky, Kara Walker and Fred Wilson.

Day, Bailey, Scott, Statom, Stout, Tecosky and Wilson participated in the Museum’s Visiting Artist Residency programme and several works exhibited in this show were created in the hot shop.

Learn more about ‘A Two-Way Mirror’ via this link.

The Museum of Glass is at 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402, US.

Image: ‘Adebisi I’ (left) and ‘Adebisi VII’, by Nigerian Layo Bright. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.

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