Ritual and Revolution at Artspace, Raleigh, NC

Artspace Raleigh, NC August 2-31, 2013
Ritual and Revolution (installation view) 
Artspace, Raleigh, NC
August 2-31, 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 1, 2013 Artspace 201 E. Davie St. Raleigh, NC 27601 http://www.artspacenc.org
CONTACT: Artspace info@artspacenc.org 919.821.2787
Nsenga Knight’s Ritual and Revolution on Display in Artspace’s Lobby Exhibition Dates: August 2-31 Opening Reception: First Friday Gallery Walk, August 2, 2013, 6-10pm Artist Talk: August 15, 6-7:30pm Raleigh, N.C. – Raleigh, N.C. – Regional Emerging Artist-in-Residence (REAR) Nsenga Knight will exhibit her work for the month of August in a solo exhibition, Ritual and Revolution, as a conclusion of her six-month residency at Artspace, a non-profit visual art center in Raleigh. This concept-driven artist explores abstraction and conceptual art in a range of media as they inform and coincide with traditional Islamic Art. She explains, “My work expands upon the common aesthetic and theoretical concerns of the conceptual arts movement of the late 60s and 70s, performance, minimalism, abstract expressionism, and both Western and Islamic geometrical abstraction; and reflects my interest in ritual, subjectivity, history, archiving and intervention.” Knight’s work explores concepts including unity in multiplicity, repetition, and transformation of forms. An identical twin, Knight developed an interest in multiples that appear similar but have distinctions. The seriality expresses itself with systems, like those made historic by Conceptual American artist Sol Lewitt (1928 – 2007). She used her residency to continue working on her Last Rite project, which is “an interdisciplinary visual art project whose narrative pivots between Malcom X’s pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 (his fulfillment of his last religious duty) and his funeral rites – the final ritual regarding his physical presence on earth.” In a series of new drawings, Knight stencils words excerpted from the book Hajj (The Pilgrimage) by Dr. Ali Shariati. She layers the quotes and produces each set in a series of four, painted in oil stick and mixed media. The order of text, and direction it is written in, follows a system. One layer is top to bottom, left to right, with every other line going upside down; another layer is in a circular direction. In one series of four, the first layer of text is painted in white, and the next layer in black; in another series, the first layer is black, the next layer white. In one evocative iteration, the first layer is black, and the next layer is done with olive oil, so the stenciled letters are partially transparent and take some of the black oil paint from the first layer of words. Among the quotes that Knight uses from Shariati’s text, Hajj, are “as a butterfly who encircles the candle until it burns, its ashes are gone with the wind, disappearing in love and dying in light.” The language used demonstrates the complexity and beauty inherent in Islamic culture, and ways in which contemporary visual art can help others learn more about it. An artist talk with Nsenga Knight and Rose Aslan, PhD candidate of Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, will be held at Artspace on August 15, 6-7:30pm. Knight has a M.F.A. in Photography and Cinema Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Film Production from Howard University. Her recent exhibitions include The First Year, Galveston
Arts Center, Galveston, TX, Muslim Voices of Philadelphia, International House, Philadelphia, PA, and Reading with Jamal Cyrus, New Museum, New York, NY. For more information, contact Artspace at http://www.artspacenc.org or 919.821.2787.