auroras presents a solo exhibition of new work by Melvin Edwards from 17 August to 27 October 2019 at Museu da República, Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition shows a series of works created by the artist in Brazil earlier this year and illustrate the full breadth of Edwards’ practice.
Born in Texas in 1937, Edwards came of age during a time of intense racial segregation. His abstract sculptures often feature recognizable agricultural implements and tools, which recall his childhood in the southwestern United States, as well as chains, railroad spikes, and scrap metal. In these new works—all created from locally sourced materials—Edwards capitalizes on the potential of these objects to evoke histories of slavery, violence, industry, and creativity while simultaneously reflecting on African cultures and their development in Brazil. Like Edwards’ sculptures, his new installations draw on the multivalent nature of materials, imbuing barbed wire and other elements with wide-ranging narratives from agriculture to oppression. Using wire to "draw in space,” the artist invents a disembodied architecture in which abstraction coexists with historical and societal concerns. Distinct from Melvin Edwards’ 2018 exhibition at MASP, which centered on his series of Lynch Fragments, the exhibition at auroras celebrates the artist’s extraordinary range as a sculptor by foregrounding his politically engaged approach to abstraction through a diverse range of sculptures, installations, and works on paper. Communicating complex sociopolitical issues, Edwards’ new work has added resonance and urgency in our present moment.
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Alexander Gray Associates.