HARLEM, NEW YORK: Renaissance Fine Art will present Jordan!™ , Dawn Okoro and Justin West in a group exhibition, URBAN PULSE. These artists are young, visually articulate, provocative and thoroughly modern. The exhibition will open on Friday, January 29, at 2075 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. at 124th St., and will remain on view until March 5, 2010.
Jordan!™ Baker-Caldwell, a sculptor, curated the exhibition which includes his work and two others: Dawn Okoro and Justin West. Each artist works with a theme that resonates with the concerns of popular culture: identity, individuality, class, and iconography in myriad genres.
Jordan!™ ‘s sculptures address popular culture’s role in obscuring the life force, the pulse, the current that is inherent in social trends. He wants to remind us that still and always there is the human side. That humanity always trumps whatever else is on the scene. He wants us to see even beyond the functionality of art. While reflecting the spirit of modernity and the influence of a media-rich culture, Jordan’s sculptures signal his concern with capturing the human side. He uses the pop-culture icon of Sponge Bob, made of bronze and steel, to illustrate this concept.
Okoro’s work is informed by the composition techniques used in fashion photography, but her narrative focuses on the themes of name branding, beauty, individuality, and defining self in a modern context with references to the internet, cell phones, MySpace and the panoply of the accoutrements of popular culture. She paints with vibrant colors: oil and acrylic on canvas to connote self-reflexivity, a process which allows her to critically examine some of the exterior and interior experiences that shape and influence everyday habits and concerns. For example, one of her paintings is titled: “Is This A Real Gucci Bag?”
Justin, also known as JAYWEST, is a 21-year old artist living in New York City whose paintings reach deep into The Aesthetic to carve out narratives that belie his age. Painting in a Surrealist and Pop-Art style, JAYWEST’s vigorous art unites his experience and his views with the causes and consequences of oppression in the Black community. His paintings are not didactic or simplistic but rather illuminate the complicated relationship between social conditions and larger political realities. Camouflaged creatures, gangs and portraits of weapons, are prominent in JAYWEST’s work. Still, in his own words, he says: “I am driven by love of seeing beautiful things come to life.”