PLEASE NOTE: This exhibition and the images below contain sexually explicit imagery.
In Aragonite Stars, Suné Woods evokes multidimensional states of existence with video passages of waterscapes, aquatic animals, mythological creatures, and other bodies immersed in water. Touch, intimacy, and connection are conduits to the spiritual, stirring emotion and conjuring the sensual. Oceans are believed to be the home of the ancestors, a realm in between the living and the dead, where many Indigenous and African mythologies are located. Woods sets this work in numerous bodies of water – natural hot springs, tide pools, the Los Angeles River, ocean waters of Southern California and near Waiʻanae, Hawai’i, where dolphins tend to frequent, and river water of El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s rainforest. The sequencing of the videos in this immersive installation follows that of a fragmentary dream or the language of collage, using non-linear logic to speak to the interconnectedness of all that is physical. Mammals, in the form of humans, are not superior to other beings. Clothed in multicolored patterned fabrics, they appear as underwater creatures – embracing, tumbling, and reaching towards an unknown depth. As in Woods’s previous collage and video work, this watery dreamscape is liminal, the edges and limits of skin, body, energy, and what we understand as human, are ever attached to a boundless conception of time as these entities continue to yield themselves toward transcendence.
Foregrounded in Woods' work is the exploration of Audre Lorde’s seminal essay, “Uses of the Erotic: Erotic as Power,” and the demand to use sensuality and touch as healing modalities. With a soundscape created by Meshell Ndegeocello, commissioned for this iteration at BRIC, the pairing of video and sound provides a palpable sense of the power of intimacy – bodies are unclothed and caress, fingers and mouths touch, descending down in a gentle embrace. Woods offers this space to question how feeling, pleasure, and vulnerability with others can not only heal but shape and transform who holds and wields power.
Photos courtesy of Sebastian Bach.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Suné Woods (she/her/they/them/he/him) is a noted mid-career artist based in Los Angeles. Her work has been presented in such exhibitions as Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and When A Heart Scatter, Scatter, Scatter at the Everson Museum of Art. She has participated in residencies at Headlands Center of the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and The Center for Photography at Woodstock. Woods is a recipient of the Visions from the New California Award and the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award. In addition, in 2020 she received the prestigious Artadia Award. Woods has served as Visiting Faculty in the CalArts Photography & Media Program, Vermont College of Fine Arts Visual Art Program, and as Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the UCLA Department of Art.
Meshell Ndegeocello (she/her) is a Grammy-award winning bassist, singer, and songwriter. Blending jazz, soul, rock, R&B, funk, and reggae, Ndegeocello has released twelve albums and earned eleven Grammy nominations, including Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Best R&B Album, and Best Contemporary R&B Album. Her 1994 duet with John Mellencamp, a cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” peaked at number three on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. She has also collaborated with The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Chaka Khan, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, and Billy Preston. Ngedeocello has appeared on a number of movie soundtracks including How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Love & Basketball, Lost & Delirious, Love Jones, Down in the Delta, and The Hurricane.
The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators.
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