Rhona Hoffman Gallery is pleased to present the first major solo exhibition of New York-based artist Adam Pendleton who is rapidly becoming well-known and sought after for his deeply personal, evocative, and layered work. The exhibition, Gorilla, My Love, is comprised of new paintings, drawings, multi-media installations and the first publication of his newspaper, No New World Order.
Pendleton's work embraces the practices of conceptual artists, writers, activists, and performers who rose to prominence in the 60s and 70s. He has combined and reinterpreted these influences to create a unique vision and voice that explores the possibilities of conceptualism, language, person centered politics, and performance within a contemporary framework.
Pendleton uses language as material, his brightly colored paintings, e.g. in electric orange and sea foam green, are text based and are composed of his own writings, song lyrics, and works by other authors- including June Jordan, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni. He alters this source material by removing passages and phrases, and adding breaths and pauses thus totally altering the way the works read visually on the canvas.
Some of the paintings are from Pendleton’s “Black English” series in which he rethinks June Jordan’s definition of that term. In her seminal essay “Nobody Mean More to Me than You”, Jordon defines Black English as a language in which “…the presence of life governs…” one “… that assumes the living and active participation of at least two human beings, the speaker and the listener.”
Jordan’s poem “Intifada Incantation “ inspired Pendleton’s large drawing installation of light grey text on colored fields of shaped paper, I Said I Loved You.
The title piece of the show, a large-scale sea-blue wall painting, takes its name, Gorilla, My Love, from the first book published by the late Toni Cade Bambara. Light grey vinyl text placed high, towards the ceiling, causes the viewer to literally look up at the possibilities of language, performance, and politics shaped by the power of love.