The Plantation (Plan-ta-shun)

by Colin Quashie

Redux Contemporary Art Center (Redux) is proud to present The Plantation (Plan-ta-shun): Works by Colin Quashie.  The exhibition includes an outdoor mural playing on the imagery of the popular board game Monopoly.   A gallery talk by the artist will be held at Redux on Friday, April 6 at 7:00 pm, during the opening reception, which takes place between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. The Plantation (Plan-ta-shun) will be on view from March 30 through May 6, 2012.  There will also be a panel discussion titled Idea and Meaning in the Art of Colin Quashie moderated by Frank Martin, Doctoral Scholar in the African American Professors program at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Philosophy on April 7 at 3:00 pm. This panel is no charge to students with ID and Redux member.  It is $5 charge for non-members.

The opening reception on Friday April 6 will be free and open to the public.

By exploring the reservoir of possibilities offered by the resources of popular cultural imagery and using the mechanisms of representation, media based communication and satire, artist Colin Quashie investigates serious cultural, social, and political ideas and issues, with sometimes raucous, genial and tongue-in-cheek humor through mixed media. On occasion Quashie addresses cultural issues using witty, scathing sarcasm intended to spark popular debate and discussion among his audience. Operating in the tradition of the avant-garde, Quashie challenges status-quo social and cultural assumptions. Quashie’s works often play upon various popular stereotypes and ridicules irrational cultural assumptions in order to trigger an awareness of our personal limitations in understanding each other’s daily life experiences.

Quashie’s works face off against hard-to-handle issues of culture, politics, and race with a self-conscious awareness that often offends (or at least disturbs) blacks, whites and “others”; he discriminates with equality and equanimity. Quashie is equal to the hard questions that he raises, but often the issues are camouflaged in pop culture imagery and a form of “Warholesque” flashiness which confounds as it derides the spectator. Operating in the tradition of the French avant-garde artists, Quashie challenges the status-quo mentality. Functioning through the use of positive “social” anger, fed by his frustration with the vision of the masses, a vision which he hopes to help re-shape and determine Quashie uses his artwork to raise questions that involve scrutinizing the power bases of our social system, causing us to examine our collective political perceptions. The Quashie point of view makes its mark by challenging us to be more thoughtful, more expressive, and more aware.

About Colin Quashie:

Quashie was born in London, England in 1963 and raised in the West Indies. At age six, his parents immigrated to the United States and settled in Daytona Beach. Quashie briefly attended the University of Florida on a full academic scholarship, but felt ill-at-ease in academia and soon left eventually joining the Navy as a submarine sonarman. It was there that his lifelong love for art fully emerged. After his discharge in 1987, he made the decision to pursue an art career. Showing steady growth, his art career ended abruptly in 1995 after an exhibition was censored. Frustrated with the art world, he abandoned art, moved west, and landed a job as a comedy sketch writer on Mad-TV. Quashie’s love for art resurfaced two years later and since then, in between writing gigs (he has written for five other comedy series and in 2001 received an Emmy Award for documentary writing) Quashie continues to produce his unique brand of art.

Artist Statement:

“Sometimes, stretched at ease in the shade of a roadside tree, we watch the motions of a labourer in a distant field, and after a time, begin to wonder languidly as to what the fellow may be at. We watch the movements of his body, the waving of his arms, we see him bend down, stand up, hesitate, begin again. it may add to the charm of an idle hour to be told the purpose of his exertions. If we know he is trying to lift a stone, to dig a ditch. to uproot a stump, we look with a more real interest at his efforts; we are disposed to condone the jar of his agitation upon the restfulness of the landscape; and even, if in a brotherly frame of mind, we may bring ourselves to forgive his failure. We understood his object, and, after all, the fellow has tried, and perhaps he had not the strength – and perhaps he had not the knowledge. we forgive, go on our way – and forget.

And so it is with the workman of art. Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off. And thus, doubtful of strength to travel so far, we talk a little about the aim – the aim of art, which, like life itself, is inspiring, difficult – obscurred by mists. It is not in the clear logic of a triumphant conclusion; it is not in the unveiling of one of those heartless secrets which are called the Laws of Nature. It is not less great, but only more difficult.”

– Preface; ‘The Nigger Of The Narcissus’, Joseph Conrad, 1897