Denny Dimin Gallery is honored to announce the representation of artist Pamela Council. A solo exhibition by the artist, Bury Me Loose, will be on view at the New York location from September 10 to October 23, 2021. Times Square Arts will present Council’s immersive public art installation, A Fountain for Survivors, from October 7 to December 8, 2021.
Pamela Council’s practice mines lived experience, history, oral tradition, and metaphysical quests to create dedications and offerings. Their interdisciplinary practice includes sculpture, performance, as well as immersive public installations, such as A Fountain for Survivors, which will open in Times Square in October.
Bury Me Loose is a survey exhibition of sculpture, video, and other mediums from the past decade of the 35-year-old Council’s work. The works selected speak to the most fundamental themes of the artist’s practice: BLAXIDERMY, gender, and a critique of capitalism. BLAXIDERMY, an amalgamation of “Blaxploitation” and “Taxidermy,” is a term Council coined for the cultural obsession with Black death, adornment, and performativity. As with much of their work, the BLAXIDERMY works deploy dark humor and dazzling craft to cope with tangible issues of life and death. All of Council’s works deal with gender, from the performance of femininity, to societal expectations, to beauty rituals, to the particular challenges for female “elite, manual laborers,” such as athletes and artists. Capitalism is ever-present in the exhibition as Council explores issues of labor, material goods, and the art market itself.
The title of the exhibition, “Bury Me Loose,” comes from a tweet. In March 2021, @yedoye_ tweeted, “damn a coffin costs $4000??? y’all can bury me loose.” In a cutting callback to the themes of BLAXIDERMY, Council deploys a humorous meme to lay bare the painful reality that people cannot even afford to die, let alone survive, in the midst of the pandemic and white supremacist capitalism. Council, who describes themselves as “very online,” is at the same time extremely concerned with aesthetics, abstraction, color, and material, as exemplified by the craftsmanship of the sculptures in the exhibition. For example, every nail is hand painted in the 2012 work, Flo Jo World Record Nails, while the color choices for the Relief works are the result of Council’s study of the exact tones and opacities of sneaker soles.
One of the earliest works in the exhibition is a dedication to the athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner (Flo Jo World Record Nails, 2012). Comprised of two thousand acrylic fingernails painted to emulate the elite runner’s manicure from the 1988 Olympics, the work is one of the artist’s earlier realizations of BLAXIDERMY, as it explores the rituals and perceptions of Black adornment, as well as the complexities of adulation and vilification of celebrities. Council’s dedications often unlock a process of grief, reflection, and conversation for Council, their family members, and their viewers. More recent works include Red Drink: A BLAXIDERMY: Juneteenth Offering GoPro, a video work of an important, recent fountain work that is a dedication to the artist’s uncle on the occasion of the Juneteenth holiday.
Pamela Council was born in 1986 Southampton, New York. The artist lives and works in New York City & Newark, NJ. Council has created commissions, exhibitions, performances, or presentations for Times Square Arts, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, United States Library of Congress, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Studio Museum in Harlem, Nike, and MoCADA. Council has been Artist-in-Residence at MacDowell Colony, ISCP, Red Bull Arts, Bemis Center, Mass MoCA, and Wassaic Project. A recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, Toby Devan Lewis Award, and Newark Creative Catalyst Award as a studio member of Project for Empty Space, Council holds a BA from Williams College and an MFA from Columbia University.
There will be an opening reception for the artist at Denny Dimin Gallery on Friday, September 10, 6-9 p.m. Masks are required during the reception.