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Home » » "back & write" opens at OSMOS on May 21

"back & write" opens at OSMOS on May 21

Written By Editor on 5/9/22 | 5/9/22

Fiona Banner
Richard Bell
Kevin Claiborne
Emory Douglas
Leslie Hewitt

back & write is a group exhibition featuring work by Fiona Banner, Richard Bell, Kevin Claiborne, Emory Douglas and Leslie Hewitt. These relevant artists have been key contributors to the OSMOS community. Over the past 20 years, OSMOS has exhibited, published, and/or produced projects with each of them, and we are now honored to assemble and share their word-and-image-based works in our project space for art gatherings, publications, and exhibitions in the East Village storefront that was once a saloon frequented by Emma Goldman and other radicals.

Fiona Banner (born 1966 in Merseyside) often works under the moniker of The Vanity Press. She established the imprint in 1997, with her seminal book The Nam. Since then she has published many works, some in the form of books, some sculptural, some performance-based. In 2009 she issued herself an ISBN number and registered herself as a publication under her own name. Humor, conflict and language are at the core of her work. Fiona Banner first became known for her “wordscapes” – often heroically proportioned works that capture in her own words films, from war blockbusters to porn. She often works with the “nude”, transcribing the human form into category-defying prose. Sometimes she repurposes military aircraft to brutal, sensual, and comedic ends. Banner is the London Royal Academy’s Professor of Perspective.

Richard Bell (b. 1953) lives and works in Brisbane, Australia. He works across a variety of media including painting, installation, performance and video. One of Australia’s most significant artists, Bell’s work explores the complex artistic and political problems of Western, colonial and Indigenous art production. Bell grew out of a generation of Aboriginal activists and has remained committed to the politics of Aboriginal emancipation and self-determination. In partnership with Milani Gallery, OSMOS installed Bell’s Immigration Policy as part of a version of the artist’s Embassy in 2016 as a special project for LA Art Book Fair. This provisional version also included works by Emory Douglas and Fiona Banner, among others.

Kevin Claiborne (born 1989) is an American multidisciplinary conceptual artist whose work examines intersections of identity, social environment, and mental health within the Black American experience. Claiborne holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the historically Black college North Carolina Central University (2012), an M.S. in Higher Education from Syracuse University (2016), and an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University (2021). Claiborne is currently an adjunct professor for photography at Columbia University.

Emory Douglas (born 1943 in Grand Rapids). Douglas has been a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area since 1951. He attended City College San Francisco where he majored in commercial art. Douglas is well known as Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, from 1967 until the early 1980s.

Leslie Hewitt (born 1977) is a New York City-based artist working between photography and sculpture. Hewitt graduated from The Cooper Union's School of Art in 2000, studied Africana and Cultural Studies at NYU from 2001-2003, and received an MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 2004. She is on the faculty at Cooper Union and Barnard College. Hewitt's approach revisits the still life genre from a post-minimalist perspective -- assemblages that reference the black literary and popular culture ephemera of her upbringing. Collaboration has been a central part of Hewitt’s art, including her ongoing work with cinematographer Bradford Young exploring the Menil Collection archive of civil rights-era photographs. That cinematic rumination on historicity and the relationship of the archive to memory, minimalism, lived experience and time, is exemplified in Hewitt’s Riffs on Real Time.

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