‘A Dark Matter’ Artists discuss work for ‘Artists-in-Dialogue’

Sep 29, 2016 / by Angelica Cataldo / The Daily Eastern News

The Tarble Arts Center director and chief curator, Rehema Barber, introduced artists Samuel Levi Jones, JC Lenochan and Cheryl Pope as part of Tarble’s “Artists-in-Dialogue” panel Wednesday evening in the Atrium.

Jones, Lenochan and Pope are artists whose work is featured in the exhibit “A Dark Matter” that is on display in Tarble. “A Dark Matter” focuses on each artists’ interpretation of the racial tension in American society.

Rehema lead the discussion with a series of questions that asked the artists what their inspiration for their work is, what kind of influences can be seen in their individual pieces, the various mediums they used and their interactions with the youth in the nation.
Lenochan said he tries to use everything but paint in his work.

“I want to use images and objects that already exist,” Lenochan said during the discussion.
Some of Lenochan’s art consists of sculptures made of old paperback books plastered together with concrete and a school chair made of old boxing gloves.
Jones’s art that is on display includes old, deconstructed encyclopedias laid out on canvas and wood.

Jones said that the concept of his art comes from the influence of reactions to cases and instances of oppression and brutality.

His pieces are part of a series titled “Unbound,” which includes recycled pages of encyclopedias and law books, are his way to convey his idea of the encyclopedia being a way to control information and intentionally leave out things like the accomplishments of African-Americans.

Pope is a Chicago based artist who focuses on a lot of performance-based art, and the use of quotations from people she had conversations with that are printed or constructed.
“I think listening is the most important political act we can make,” Pope said during the panel. “Language is failing (us).”

Pope’s work concentrates on the human struggle through pain, oppression and tolerance. One of her performances includes her using only her head to knock down suspended balloons filled with water.

During the discussion, Pope had said the first time she performed the piece; it brought her a great deal of pain. After the first time, she then took up boxing and built up a tolerance to the similar pain she felt during her performance.

“Every time I got hit (during boxing) I’d whisper thank you,” Pope said.
Barber then opened the panel to the audience to ask questions after asking her prepared set of questions.

The gallery will be featuring the exhibit until Oct. 30, and will continue to host lectures and performances by the other artists featured until the exhibit leaves.