Leslie Hewitt: On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York

The Kitchen in New York City is currently showing On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance, a Leslie Hewitt solo exhibition curated by Rashida Bumbray.  The exhibition features new and recent work by Hewitt in photography, sculpture and film installation.  The Kitchen writes that in this exhibition Hewitt’s ‘…long-standing interest in non-linear perspective merges with W.E.B. Dubois’ theory of double consciousness, to create visually elegant and thoughtfully composed situational works’.

On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance brings together a selection of images from three of Hewitt’s photographic projects.  Riffs on Real Time (2008) features sculptural, layered collages with mundane objects created to be captured in photograph.  These sculptural creations reflect the condition of existence through a shared temporality.  In the Midday (2009) series she creates contemporary still-life arrangements that reference our consumerist society through repetition.  Hewitt creates and documents multiple times – making each photographic image of the same still-life arrangement subtly altered in perception.  Hewitt’s newest photographic project, A Series of Projections (2010), breaks down and simplifies the artist’s structural complexities.  In a departure, black and white photographs capture photographic fragments projected onto the studio wall in addition to honing in on objects placed on wooden surfaces.

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York

Like much of Hewitt’s work, her new film installation, created in collaboration with experiential cinematographer Bradford Young, is inspired by a literary source – in this instance Claude Brown’s Harlem migration text Manchild in the Promised Land (1965).  This film installation engages the landscape of a particular place (Harlem) and the manifest implications and effects of movement through this space.  Hewitt and Young drew visual inspiration from Harlem’s dense urban grid, its architectural features and through the study of its street archives.  The Kitchen describes this film installation as featuring ‘a series of silent vignettes’ where ‘time is marked through oscillations between the still and the moving image’.  The passage of the gallery visitor through the installation mirrors and completes the work.  This theme of human movement is as particularly definitive to our global age as it was to the formation of 20th century Harlem.

Leslie Hewitt graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2000 and earned an MFA from Yale University in 2004.  She also undertook Africana Studies and Cultural Studies at New York University from 2001-2003.  Hewitt received the 2008 Art Matters research grant to the Netherlands and, more recently, the 2010 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Individual Artist Grant.  She is currently in residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Courtesy of the artist and D'Amelio Terras, New York

Leslie Hewitt is represented by D’Amelio Terras in New York and is in the public collection at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Hewitt has shown extensively across the US and was part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial and MoMA’s New Photography exhibition in 2009.  Hewitt’s work has also been shown internationally – notably at the Thomas Dane Gallery in London and the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw.  Look for Leslie Hewitt’s work in the exhibition After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City (organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta).  This exhibition is on view 28 March – 11 August 2010.

The Leslie Hewitt solo exhibition On Beauty, Objects, and Dissonance will remain at The Kitchen through 20 May 2010.  A discussion between Leslie Hewitt and Bradford Young, moderated by Rashida Bumbray, will be held Sunday, 9 May at 4.00 pm.