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TCDP TOP PICK | Laylah Ali: "The Greenheads Series" at the Weisman Art Museum
02/16/2013 (All day) - 05/06/2013 (All day)
TCDP TOP PICK: Laylah Ali's Greenheads paintings pack a punch, presenting provocative scenarios enacted by adorable round-headed figures against brightly colored backgrounds. "Though reminiscent of tribunal scenes, war games, comic books, and the absurdist stagings of Adrienne Kennedy and Samuel Beckett," writes The Believer, "her paintings are free of the slogans, captions, and loaded titles we might expect from such politically charged work." What does it all mean? Judge for yourself at the Weisman, starting February 16. - Jay Gabler
The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota presents Laylah Ali: T he Greenheads Series. This is the first exhibition of the Greenheads paintings as a complete body of work and was organized by the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts. This exhibition continues WAM’s yearlong investigation of the oft-overlooked and taken for granted concept of the Real. Central to many and varied human concerns, the idea of reality has been defined and understood in a multitude of ways over time. Ali’s gouache on paper paintings chronicle an often dystopian and regimented world inhabited by enigmatic, large-headed figures. The genderless subjects of Ali’s paintings evoke scenarios from the family, schoolyard, or war zone. Because of the minimal depiction of forms, the line is often blurred between perpetrators and victims, race and gender.
Ali uses details of news images to create and re-create scenes of violence or to show what preludes the action of violence. Focusing on facial expressions, hands, and manners of human interaction— embraces, glares, confrontations, and acts of comforting—Ali uses brightly colored figures in juxtaposition to emotionally charged images such as hoods, robes, nooses, and masks. The created tension leaves the ultimate decision of what is real in the scenarios that Ali depicts up to the viewer as a witness to these acts.
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