COLLAGE ON VIEW
at the University Art Museum in Albany, New York, USA
20 January-3 April 2021
Curated by Michael Mosby, “i.de.al.is.tic” brings together the work of artists Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola, Sean Desiree, and Marcus Leslie Singleton. The exhibition explores each artist’s relationship to the concept of idealism—the unrealistic aim for perfection. Singleton deals with the everyday, while Akinbola abstracts the concept of a Black identity, and Desiree objectively describes the inherent beauty in public housing units. In each of these artist’s practices there is an acceptance of imperfection, and through this resolve a true picture of a complex Black narrative emerges.
As a first-generation Nigerian American, Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola works to reconcile the three cultures that make up his identity: “The African,” “The American,” and “The Negro.” Using culturally significant objects such as Durags, Torino Brushes, and Palm Oil, Akinbola explores how stereotypical notions of race, identity, and culture are embedded into current society. He seeks to mitigate the divide between Africa and Black
America by combining multiple identities from both worlds in search of a truer meaning of self.
Using found wood from pallets, demolished buildings, and discarded scraps, Sean Desiree creates geometric works guided by a commitment to highlight stories of resistance. Desiree’s two-dimensional works depict aerial views of public housing units in Upstate, New York. Through the use of intricate wood inlay and patterning, Desiree celebrates the beauty, resilience, and complexities comprising each unit. The proceeds from the sale of these works fund grants for local artists and makers residing in Upstate public housing.
Marcus Leslie Singleton’s paintings reflect reality, depicting moments of the strange world we are currently experiencing, making them atemporal. His goal is not to make these moments outlast time, but rather to be honest about the thoughts and experiences within each moment. Filtered through his own personal experiences, he reacts honestly to the current world, asking questions, analyzing people’s actions and motivations. He seeks to expand on what this time means to people, to encourage introspection on who we all are, and what each of us believe.
(text adapted from the gallery’s press materials)
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