On View

Stepping into historically homogenous spaces to unite people through their differences, create conversation inclusive of more voices, and honor history takes a sort of courage not unknown to SAIC alums and MacArthur “genius” grant recipients Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995) and Walter Hood (MFA 2013). Gibson is a member of the Chocktaw and Cherokee nations, and his work brings forward the history and culture of Indigenous people and traditions to show that native people “exist, are present, and contribute.” Hood, a landscape and public artist, fosters unity by creating ecologically sustainable public spaces that honor communal histories and empower marginalized communities. Over their careers, Gibson and Hood have used the power of art and design to lift up the voices of others and create representation among those who have often been overlooked.

Jeffrey Gibson, "CAN YOU FEEL IT," 2019. Installation view at Kavi Gupta | Elizabeth St., Photo courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta. Photo: John Lusis
Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995), "PROTECTS THE LAND," 2019, cotton and linen, digitally printed fabric, polyester thread, cotton batting, 73 1/2 x 102 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta
Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995), "WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE," 2015, mixed media, 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta

Jeffrey Gibson

For CAN YOU FEEL IT, a solo exhibition of new work, Gibson presented 14 paintings and sculptures, including the debut of a never-before-shown body of quilted works. Included in the exhibit are three new works from Gibson’s ongoing punching bag series (2013–present).

Jeffrey Gibson, "REMEMBER REWIND TO REPEAT," 2016, glass beads, artificial sinew, tin jingles, acrylic felt, canvas, wood panels, 42 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta
Jeffrey Gibson, "FOREVER ALWAYS," 2017, glass beads, artificial sinew, metal studs, tin jingles, acrylic felt, over wood panel, 50 x 43 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta

Appropriating iconic Everlast punching bags as sculptural supports, Gibson mobilizes bead work, weaving, tassels, and other material interventions to transform objectified targets for abuse into conceptual symbols of strength and beauty. Gibson’s jubilant and ever-evolving practice blends the aesthetic heritages of Native America, rave culture, and punk rock, breathing new life into traditions of modernist abstraction. CAN YOU FEEL IT was on view September 20 to December 21, 2019, at Kavi Gupta gallery.

Jeffrey Gibson, "ALIVE!," 2016, glass beads, tin jingles, steel and brass studs, nylon fringe, and artificial sinew on acrylic felt, mounted on canvas, 100 x 61 ¼ inches. Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta

Walter Hood

Walter Hood’s recent projects reflect his interest in the role of sculpture in public space. Carry On, a glass art wall in the San Diego International Airport, displays hundreds of photographs of personal objects superimposed over abstracted x-rays of carry-on bags. The wall is a portrait of San Diego through the objects carried, suggesting the myriad stories told by the contents of one’s luggage.

Walter Hood (MFA 2013), "Carry On," 2018, glass and ink, 12 x 225 feet x 9/16 inches. Installed in the San Diego International Airport
Walter Hood (MFA 2013), "Three Trees: Jackson, Obama, Washington," 2019, wood from fallen trees, steel

For the landscape surrounding the forthcoming International African American Museum, to be built on the site where nearly 40 percent of enslaved Africans arrived in this country, he has designed a memorial garden filled with native grasses and featuring a tidal pool. Hood is broadening the ways in which a place can be transformed by intervention in the landscape and by imbuing social justice and equity into public spaces that make past and present community lifeways visible. 

Walter Hood (MFA 2013), a rendering for the International African American Museum to be built in Charleston, South Carolina
Walter Hood (MFA 2013), "Witness Walls," 2017, cast concrete, 48 x 32 x 12 inches. Installed in Public Square Park in Nashville, Tennessee