Pace Gallery is showcasing its first ever exhibition on acclaimed American artist, Hank Willis Thomas. Entitled I’ve Known Rivers, the solo show presents a range of the his signature retroreflective works that probe into globalization, colonial histories, and appropriation.
Inspired by Langston Huges’ 1921 poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, the show (like the poem) meditates on the theme of water as a visual anchor, point of entry, mover of people and “container of ancient knowledge”, wrote a release by the gallery. Working across mediums, from painting to sculpture, installation to neon signage and screen-prints, Thomas sees himself as a “visual culture archaeologist” and mines the canons of history to re-present iconography, as well as accepted figures and norms, in a new light.
“I’ve always been fascinated with what’s seen and what’s not seen,” said Thomas, “how something shapes our perception of the world. My work is often attempting to challenge myself and viewers to take on a different perspective to enlighten us on things we already know.”
Like the myriad references he conflates within his work, each retroreflective silkscreen and UV printed artwork offers a multilayered viewing experience that will change throughout the day. The collages on view seeks to connect the viewer to the his thought processes, experiences and the artists who’ve inspired him along the way. I’ve Known Rivers will be on view at Pace LA until August 26.
In related news, Kendrick Lamar is showcasing artwork by fellow Angeleno Henry Taylor at his recent shows.
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