Nicelle Beauchene is pleased to announce From Dust We Came, an exhibition of new charcoal on paper drawings by Jordan Kasey. The show will run concurrently with …animal, vegetable, or mineral?, on view at the main gallery on Broome Street.
From Dust We Came is an installation by Kasey with drawings of faces borrowed from stone and clay sculptures from various cultures of the ancient world. These faces, which spent thousands of years staring into the darkness of the earth from which they were rendered, have been reimagined as portraits, which hang throughout the apartment on brightly hued walls. The character’s expressions are subtle but absurd: an icy scowl, a stoned-looking grin, or a look of pure shock as though captured in the moment Medusa herself glanced their way. Cumulatively, these charcoal on paper works could almost pass as photographs of long-forgotten family members. Set in a domestic space, an unlikely family reunion takes shape with new voices to tell their myriad stories.
To gather source material for the works, Kasey spent time at museums and libraries in New York City, Baltimore, and Peru. She paid particular attention to expression and vitality while sketching and photo-graphing the sculptures, usually enlarging the faces to many times their original size. Each portrait is rendered from “prolonged staring matches,” as the artist describes, with an empathetic hand that amplifies the reverence originally imbued in these figures by their no-longer-known makers. Since being exhumed from their resting places, these faces have waited wide-eyed in vitrines far from home. Distinct from the artist’s painting practice, the drawings re-animate a chorus of culturally anachronistic “artifacts.”