1 September 2021

Jeffrey Gibson joins Stephen Friedman Gallery

Gibson’s work fuses his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage and experience of living in Europe, Asia and the USA with references that span club culture, queer theory, fashion, politics, literature and art history. The artist’s multi-faceted practice incorporates painting, performance, sculpture, textiles and video, characterised by vibrant colour and pattern.

Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to announce representation of Mississippi Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson.

Gibson combines intricate indigenous artisanal handcraft – such as beadwork, leatherwork and quilting – with narratives of contemporary resistance in protest slogans and song lyrics. This “blend of confrontation and pageantry” is reinforced by what Felicia Feaster describes as a “sense of movement and performance as if these objects ... are costumes waiting for a dancer to inhabit them.” The artist harnesses the power of such materials and techniques to activate overlooked narratives, while embracing the presence of historically marginalised identities.

Gibson explains: “I am drawn to these materials because they acknowledge the global world. Historically, beads often came from Italy, the Czech Republic or Poland, and contemporary beads can also come from India, China and Japan. Jingles originated as the lids of tobacco and snuff tins, turned and used to adorn dresses, but now they are commercially made in places such as Taiwan. Metal studs also have trade references and originally may have come from the Spanish, but also have modern references to punk and DIY culture. It’s a continual mash- up.”

Acknowledging music as a key element in his experience of life as an artist, Gibson has expressed that pop music became one of the primary points of reference in his practice: musicians became his elders and lyrics became his mantras. Recent paintings synthesise geometric patterns inspired by indigenous American artefacts with the lyrics and psychedelic palette of disco music.

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