NEW YORK-MILES MCENERY GALLERY is pleased to announce the inaugural solo exhibition for David Huffman. The exhibition will open 14 November at 520 West 21st Street and will remain on view through 21 December. A public opening reception will be held for the artist on 14 November from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication featuring an essay by Derek Conrad Murray, PhD.
David Huffman integrates African-American cultural symbols and notions of outer space into his paintings and sculpture. While from afar they may appear completely abstract, nestled within the layers of his intergalactic canvases are recognisable motifs-basketballs, African batik fabrics, the colours of the Pan-African flag, and historical, social figures.
By merging politically neutral abstraction with pointed allusions and iconography, Huffman creates his own visual language. Murray writes, 'He has reinvigorated non-objective painting-engendering a new set of potentialities for formalist abstraction. What 'social abstraction' teaches us is that abstraction has always been a political act.'
Huffman turns to the symbol of the basketball in his monumental sculpture Liberation. The pyramid shape evokes the grandeur and power associated with the ritual structures of the great early civilisations. Rather than using the heavy stones favoured by the ancient Egyptians, Huffman employs over six hundred red, black, and green basketballs as architectural building blocks.
While giving a tongue-in-cheek nod to the often almost-religious devotion to the sport, Huffman leans into the basketball as what he terms a 'shifting symbol, one that can point to an arena of objectification and exploitation, or toward African-American dreams and aspirations that have been realised.'
A speaker embedded within the sculpture plays a 10-minute loop of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech, layered with NASA sound files from Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede. Huffman considers his pyramid to be a 'social sculpture,' and upon completion of the exhibition, the basketballs will be donated to the YMCA in downtown New York City.
DAVID HUFFMAN (b. in Berkeley, CA in 1963) studied at the New York Studio School, New York, NY and the California College of the Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. He received his MFA at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 1999.
Selected solo exhibitions include his forthcoming display at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Print Project, Paulson Fontaine Press, Berkeley, CA; Worlds in Collision, Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Culver City, CA; Everything Went Dark Until I Saw Angels, Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Out of Bounds, San Francisco Art Commission Galleries, San Francisco, CA; Dig It! Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, CA; and Land of the New Rising Sun, Lizabeth Oliveria Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
Selected group exhibitions include the forthcoming Personal to Political, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI; Ordinary Objects/Wild Things, de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Counternarratives, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; There's Reality and Then There's California, NIAD Art Center, Richmond, CA; Way Bay, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Where is Here, (curated by Jacqueline Francis and Kathy Zarur), Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; and Portraits and Other Likenesses, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA.
His work is included in the permanent collections of Arizona State University Art Museum, Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, Tempe, AZ; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA; Embassy of the United States of America, Dakar, Senegal; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA; Palo Alto Arts Center, Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.
David Huffman lives and works in Oakland, CA.
Press release courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery.