Featuring an impressive list of names and focused on artists of color, “Viewpoints: 20 Years of Adderley,” on view through December 6 at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, spotlights visual storytelling that includes the abstract and the narrative bound into a journey of identity, relationship and originality.
The entirety is framed as a celebration to highlight the achievements of those who have been speakers in MassArt’s Adderley Lecture Series over the last 20 years. Displayed are works by artists of considerable prominence in the contemporary art world who contribute to the strength of its multi-cultural momentum.
Chakaia Booker’s tire sculptures are installed to reach their tentacles into space, and the effect is consistent with her aesthetic. Her work is presented in a wonderful cameo moment, dramatically anchoring the exhibition. This is achieved because Booker’s black rubber sculptures engage high-contrast animism to make a strong statement against the gallery’s white walls. The overt physicality of her work commands audience attention and sets the tone for a walk through the show.
The compact wall reliefs of Melvin Edwards, “Dan Okay” and “Hope,” are from his Lynch Fragments Series. Edwards emerged creatively in the direct aftermath of the Watts Riots. His metal mask-like reliefs insert a sense of commentary into appropriated content. The artworks are regarded as masterpieces within the creative cannon of contemporary Black American Art.
Alison Saar shows “Pearly Study (sugar sack shroud series)” along with “Foundered” and “Cotton Eater.” Her work explores dreams, sub-conscious and remembering as conceptual narrative about lineage, global context and the formation of identity. Saar’s works convey sober subject matter with whatever materials seem right for the job. Hers is a situational ordering of things concerned with spirituality and poetic storytelling.