Artist Saya Woolfalk has created a little utopian hive of serenity in the large front gallery of the Smack Mellon in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Her installation resembles the laboratories of science fiction, where hybrid humans are suspended as if they are hanging out to dry after being churned out of a machine.
ChimaTEK Beta Launch is part of the artist’s evolving vision of a post-human future, where a new species of genetically manipulated woman formed from a spectrum of identities and lifeforms, including plants, has come to life. Woolfalk visually invites the viewer into the space, and lulls them with the drone of techno-utopian music that offers escape into a world of meditative calm. Stunningly beautiful videos fill the walls with humanoid figures that move slowly, very conscious of each gesture, suggesting that the future is almost here, while rainbow-hued and almost recognizable glyphs float above. The mandala of radiating forms evoke the spiritual elegance of Yuan dynasty temple paintings, but they are thoroughly contemporary with their acid purples, electric greens, hot reds, cool yellows, and digital glow.
Even amid the soothing energy in the room, there’s an ominous edge to Woolfalk’s immersive world. A central figure seems engaged in a form of devotion while facing an altar dominated by a Kali-like form on a video screen flanked by centurions. There’s no semblance of ugliness anywhere to be seen; it has been engineered away.
This is the world of byzantine ritual and faith, where icons are living and breathing things but trapped in amber and therefore removed from our corporeal reality. You could be forgiven for ignoring this darkness from the shadows since the luminosity of the tableau is so intense and oddly numbing. I left the gallery wanting to return, without fully knowing why. Woolfalk’s world is seductive, perhaps even addictive.
A video posted by Hyperallergic (@hyperallergic) on
Saya Woolfalk’s ChimaTEK Beta Launch continues at Smack Mellon (92 Plymouth Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn) through November 9.
Cammie Tipton-Amini’s opinion piece “When Ukraine Was Newly Independent and Everything Was Possible” employs simplistic whataboutism that dangerously echoes Putin’s lies.
Anthony Banua-Simon’s documentary Cane Fire contrasts decades of Hollywood images of his home with its current reality.
Now on view in Pasadena, this exhibition explores how four artists challenged the limitations of gestural abstraction by exploiting the resonance of figural forms.
Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art Presents A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence
This new exhibition in Evanston, Illinois considers how art has been used to protest, process, mourn, and memorialize anti-Black violence for more than a century.
Protesters held signs that read “If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM” and “Abolish SCOTUS, Not Abortions!”
Define American has named the fourth cohort of its annual fellowship, which gives grants and career development opportunities to five artists.
Guest curated by Alison Burstein, An Asterism* at the school’s Kellen Gallery in NYC features the work of 15 multidisciplinary artists, on view from May 16 through May 27.
The site of Michelangelo’s famous frescoes has a strict no-photos policy.
Her short film Freshwater is now playing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
In the artist’s new exhibition, Black moves away from her signature representation of commercial goods to celebrating the labors behind everyday life.