Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times is a solo exhibition by artist and designer, Folayemi (Fo) Wilson that reconsiders the power of objects to create a dynamic atmosphere for reflection, meditation and healing.
Wilson embellishes slip-cast objects with various materials and incorporates video and audio to create a celestial AfroFuturist landscape. Soundscapes and cosmic orbs, landing via a shotgun house-like structure that appears to come from another realm, embody the artist’s desire “…to infuse love and restore dignity to a culture that is troubled with unfortunate manifestations of fear, hate, greed, shame, and a disregard for others.”
This exhibition of new work combines elements of architecture and integrates visual art, objects, sound, and video. As in some of the artist’s previous work (Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, 2016), the house is a powerful symbol and continues Wilson’s interest in Southern vernacular architecture. In this case, the shotgun house with its origins in West Africa and economy in layout and design becomes a form that appears as if it landed from outer space incorporating elements that suggest a futuristic, transplanetary Middle Passage and migration through deep space. Original soundscapes placed throughout the gallery are conceived to sound like communications from another world with uncanny references to early jazz recordings, religious chants, political manifestos, and other audial ephemera from classic moments in human liberation.
Orbs will hang from the ceiling, lie on the floor and be interspersed in the installation with found objects that contain video of NASA journeys into space, around the moon and documenting the sun. These embellished cosmic orbs may look like stars, small planets and moons, but carry the conceptual theme of love and deliverance to a world in transition that is coping with divergent ideas around a common humanity. Local communities of healing that chant, meditate, pray, embody sacred movement or sing sacred music, are invited to activate the gallery space and give audiences an opportunity to engage with the exhibition’s theme of positive energy and healing.
Noted poet and visual artist Krista Franklin will present a long form poem in response to the work and celebrated Chicago jazz musician Ben LaMar Gay will accompany her in the gallery on Thursday, July 11th, 6 pm. This event is free and open to the public. The exhibition catalog will take the form of a special release LP record featuring these contributions as well as written text by the artist and other contributors.