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Pattern Recognition is a group exhibition with a focus on painting. As the title hints, the show delves into non-representational investigation of forms and color within the realms of a two-dimensional surface. On view until October 6th, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn and curated by Dexter Wimberly, the exhibition features painting by emerging artists. With a rich, colorful history and an urbanite present, they all succeed at bringing a different flavor to the show, allowing for New Abstraction to rear its head. Each artist uses non-objective markings that could easily be described as unique, or as the title states, derived from intricate, explosive prints used in decorative clothing and head scarves commonly found on the African continent specifically the West African region.

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In a similar yet completely different approach, Hugo McCloud also contributes a weighted painting, titled Cover-Up, 2013, composed of layers of iron oxide and oil stick on a sheet of brass. Devoid of any definitive color his patterns, particularly in this workare formed by the friction between materials on the surface and where imaginary joints might be made.  Lighter in both surface material and color palette is Without a thought, 2013 also by McCloud, is mixed media on tar paper. This piece is much more vibrant in nature as color shapes dance across the surface. The painting could be visual construed as a competition between forms and colors or an aerial view of a city, loosely mapped out from a viewpoint high above the clouds.Duhirwe Rushemeza has work in Pattern Recognition that is clearly the most pattern oriented. Reminiscent of Barnett Newman if all of his color field shapes had been filled in with lines, zig-zags and repeated geometric shapes, playfulness are also evident. This is particularly true in Brothers Gonna Work it Out (Green and White, Burnt Red and Blue), 2013,  a mixed media painting composed of thin-set mortar, concrete, acrylic house paint and embedded rusted metal detritus.  Her work is textured and in dialogue with traditional painting along with sculptural practice. The layers of materials upon closer inspection, reveal the weight of the surface and in doing so add what could be perceived as a deeper, metaphysical translation of the surface markings.

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Sam Vernon on the other hand uses abstraction alluding to the figure, dissected or decomposed and rearranged. From his statement:

“Since reading cultural critic Mark Dery’s essay “Black to the Future,” the type of work I create is a strain of Afrofuturism. I reimagined the history of the African Diaspora through the lens of science fiction, complex characters and spiritual realms. I’m invested in re-documenting the life and interpretation of African-Americans through my own black and white vernacular that’s at once deeply personal and extremely invented.”

 A new way to interpret Post-painterly Abstraction as defined by Clement Greenberg in 1964, filtered through the black experience, these young artists are using an old language in order to create a cross-cultural conversation. Most of the well-known painters from the Abstract movement of the 1960s were Caucasian and what Dexter Wimberly has done is bring together a group of artists whose work is informed by a rich history of African textiles and mostly male dominated movement of Abstraction from the 1960s to give us a show that feels strictly American and fresh, in a highly globalized way.

Pattern Recognition, curated by Dexter Wimberly in on view at MoCADA, with artists Rushern Baker IV, Kimberly Becoat, Hugo McCloud, Duhirwe Rushemeza and Sam Vernon. There are several upcoming events that correspond with the exhibition. Check the museum website for further detail.




More soon.