MICHAEL HARTMAN, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art
JAMI POWELL, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Indigenous Art
ALISA SWINDELL, Associate Curator of Photography
Hood Quarterly, winter 2024

Featuring two visually striking textile-based sculptures by acclaimed artists Nick Cave and Jeffrey Gibson, Gather, Move, Resonate invites us to grapple with our shared humanity through generosity, play, movement, and sound. Both artists explore the complexity and fluidity of identity using a variety of found, reclaimed, familiar, and unexpected materials that relate to African diasporic and Native American cultural practices, including Egúngún masking traditions and Ojibwe jingle dresses. For both artists, the process of gathering materials for these other-than-human figures also becomes a metaphor for bringing together multiple ideas and groups of people. The movement and activation of these and other works by Cave and Gibson blur the traditional distinctions between costume, performance, and sculpture.

Cave constructed his first Soundsuit in 1992 in response to the police beating of Rodney King. His fantastical suits of armor made from reclaimed and discarded materials such as Easter grass, mirrors, yarn, wires, and netting camouflage the wearer's body. In this way, they spare the wearer judgment based on one's identity and serve as a visual embodiment of social justice, simultaneously representing protection and empowerment.

Gibson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores the complexity and fluidity of identity and critiques the exclusion and erasure of Indigenous artistic traditions from the history of Western art. His large, looming figure titled WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHEN DO YOU WANT IT? was constructed from driftwood and draped in a canvas that the artist painted, washed, and adorned with fringe, metal studs, beads, and jingles.

Both works in this exhibition suggest the possibility of inhabiting a space beyond the body, one where the wearer is free of societal constraints of race, gender, class, or sexual orientation. When activated, the swoosh of Cave's suit and the healing jingles of Gibson's work reverberate with sounds that evoke feelings of calm, joy, or even unease.

Gather, Move, Resonate: Nick Cave and Jeffery Gibson is organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, and generously supported by the Philip Fowler 1927 Memorial Fund.


Tags: Quarterly

Written January 01, 2024