Three bodies of work and site-specific installations transformed The Studio Museum’s mezzanine galleries in New Intuitions. Leslie Hewitt, Tanea Richardson and Saya Woolfalk have markedly distinct practices, but each artist insists on raising questions about our accepted ways of seeing reality.
A Frequency alum, Leslie Hewitt creates photographic works that explore how appropriated pictures preserve vernaculars but create new meanings in new contexts. She also presented a three-dimensional structure that brought her photographic arrangements into “real” space, as well as a new body of gouache drawings on wood panel that depict image fragments appropriated from her memory archive. Tanea Richardson’s three-dimensional forms make a surreal escape from the two-dimensional restrictions of painting. Crafted from lush textiles and bound together with telecommunication wires and cables, Richardson’s forms reflect upon both fabric work as traditional women’s labor and the way in which our understanding of certain bodies is limited by language. Saya Woolfalk’s hand-crafted, rainbow-colored utopian world, No Place, is the basis for her ongoing pseudo-ethnographic and psychoanalytic project. Presented as a tableau, No Place enabled viewers to enter a space that blurred the distinction between viewing a scale representation of No Place and actually visiting the site.
New Intuitions took its title from the poet Adrienne Rich, who, quoting Antonio Gramsci, posits that cultural shifts only happen when artists’ imaginary and fantastical creations act as a mirror to society. For Hewitt, Richardson and Woolfalk, the tools of fantasy, imagination and recontextualization shape a world that is not at all foreign, but is one in which our lived experiences are seen anew.