A matrix of black light tubes taking up the entirety of one of the four walls in the gallery fills the room with a hazy, unnatural, neon purple light reminiscent of a future or neonoir via Blade Runner. On other walls hang canvases covered in deep black hues. On the ground, in the center of the room, is a square made up of loose broken glass. As you move around the space the ubiquitous purple light refracts in the shards of translucence.
Subtle shifts on the surface of the large all black canvases reveal words. Pure. Very. New. The title of show as well as adjectives that when added to the word Black forms the names of specific paint colors. Black painted portraits of African Americans hang in another room while a Nina Simone performance of Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair plays on a multi-television installation.
The show uses a variety of visual signifiers to create an atmosphere that asks us to evaluate and investigate the varied meanings and experiences ofBlack and Blacknessas both cultural concept and lived experience. Like the reflection of the black light on the shards of glass and the black surface of the paintings, these meanings become entangled and refracted, asking the viewer what is “Black”?