Hamiltonian Gallery is pleased to announce two concurrent solo exhibitions by artists David Page and Hamiltonian Fellow, Nora Howell. Through sculptural installation, video and photography Howell and Page have created new work driven by both their observations of society and their own personal histories concerning issues of identity, power systems, fear and safety. Differing in artistic tone and subject both artists delve into and explore the semiotics of identity infused in everyday exchanges.

As a young South African army recruit on the firing range artist David Page was presented with a blatantly “non-white” stylized figure on a target. This vague ethnic depiction of a man strongly contrasted with Page’s fellow white army conscripts, and the oppositional identity of the target became apparent to him. These depictions of men had transcended the function of mere targets visualizing the social construct of race, emphasizing recognition of the “the other”.

 

David Page presents to us three sculptural installations comprised of hand-sewn leather and canvas targets, tackle dummies and a life-sized yellow decoy duck, inside of which a participant is padded, caged and fired at close-range with paint balls. Page’s newest works address the identification of threats, the manipulation of empathy and the subsequent instinctual, irrational fears that our culture experiences today.

The effects of racism on our daily lives are typically unspoken but when considered, our embedded psychological positions are oftentimes rationalized. Hamiltonian Fellow Nora Howell believes that if we acknowledge the historical constructs of systemic racism, then its influence and power is weakened.

Nora Howell presents us with a coffee bar in the gallery, where for one night only, viewers are invited to take part in a performance-installation where their skin color is evaluated and equated to mundane coffee drinks. Howell provides us prompt questions to enter into a public conversation where we consciously recognize how we perceive ourselves through skin color.

A video projection displays a faint white silhouette made of marshmallow that only becomes visible when chocolate sauce is poured behind it. To Howell, we can only see white when contrasted with black. In a series of photographs Nora Howell depicts stacks of Oreo cream centers muddled and flecked indicating the absence of the other half. Nora Howell’s frequent use of everyday food employs humor as a way to disarm us into participating in a dialogue about the difficult issues of race and identity.

This exhibition will be on view from September 17 -October 29, 2011, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 17th, from 7-9 pm.

There will be one-night-only performances by both David Page and Nora Howell at the opening reception on Saturday, September 17th.

Please join us for an artist talk on Wednesday, October 12th, at 7:00pm, with Howell and Page.