John Jennings & Stacey Robinson
Opening Reception: Friday, November 9, 8 to 11 pm
Artists' Talk: Friday, November 9, 8 pm
Exhibition continues through December 21
Black Kirby is a collaborative "entity" that is John "Pitch" Jennings and Stacey "Blackstar" Robinson.The introduction to this avatar is an exhibition of primarily works-on-paper that celebrates the incredible work of Jack Kirby and his contributions to the pop culture landscape. Black Kirby functions as a rhetorical tool by appropriating Kirby's bold forms and energetic ideas combined with themes centered around Afrofuturism, social justice, representation, magical realism, and using the culture of Hip Hop as a methodology for creating visual communication. It also uses the notion of an alter-ego as a symbolic allegory for DuBoisian "double-consciousness" theory. This collection of work "samples" from Kirby's style but also "remixes" it with the formal and conceptual influences from many other artists, pop culture, and artistic expressions. In a sense, Black Kirby uses the comics medium as a conceptual crossroads to examine identity as a socialized concept through bricolage, pastiche,oppositional juxtapositions, and deconstruction. It is the artists' hope to destabilize various ideas of "blackness" in order to examine certain nuances of its performance. The exhibit will also seek to celebrate and investigate the reification of black power imagery and how the comics generated by a cadre of predominantly Jewish creators inspires some of the "freedom dreams" of past, present, and future Black creators.
John Jennings is an Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His research and teaching focus on the analysis, explication, and disruption of African American stereotypes in popular visual media. His research is concerned with the topics of representation and authenticity, visual culture, visual literacy, social justice, and design pedagogy. He is an accomplished designer, curator, illustrator, cartoonist,and award-winning graphic novelist. His work overlaps into various disciplines including American Studies, African American Studies, Design History, Media Studies, Sociology, Women and Gender Studies, and Literature. Jennings is co-author of the graphic novel The Hole: Consumer Culture, and co-curator of Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics. His most recent book was curated with collaborator Damian Duffy and is entitled Black Comix: African American Independent Comics Art + Culture.
Stacey Robinson is an artist. His subject matter examines the African-American experience, more specifically the future. Making many African-American private conversations and concerns public. In a celebratory fashion, he accentuates the form. What many times is over-sexualized is honored in his work as the accentuation, elongation and distortion of his forms represent much more than the initial appearance. Inspired by Michelangelo, Ernie Barnes, Charles Bibbs and Robert Rauschenberg, Stacey ventured in a different direction, examining the future. His Afro-Futurist works consist of reoccurring motifs, which are symbols of technology and rebirth. Juxtaposing flesh with mechanical objects, the works comment on newness of life beyond the struggles of the past. Currently, Stacey is preparing for graduate school. Balancing family, community activities and art events is an everyday challenge. Having achieved most of his life goals, Stacey is looking forward to an unreached goal, art professor: lecturer, and world-renowned post-modern artist.
Arlen Schumer is a member of The Society of Illustrators, creating comic book-style illustrations for advertising and editorial usage, and one of the foremost historians of comic book art—his book The Silver Age of Comic Book Art won the Independent Publishers Award for Best Popular Culture Book of 2003. He lectures on these and other pop culture subjects he is a recognized expert in, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone and the music of Bruce Springsteen, at universities and cultural institutions nationwide. www.arlenschumer.com
I recently saw an advert for this exhibit in Artvoice and Special Thanks goes out to Ed for putting the link for this exihibit on my Facebook page.
...and remember imitation is the highest form of flattery.