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DeCarlo Logan | Sundown: Revolution

Windgate Artist-in-Residence Exhibition

DeCarlo Logan

DeCarlo Logan is the Windgate Artist-in-Residence at Purchase College in Spring 2020. He creates work which uses an interdisciplinary approach combing and moving between painting, video, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and installation art, while dissecting social constructions as a means to engage in a conversation deeply rooted in complex internal and external perceptions of race and ethnicity in America. His work captures moments which would otherwise be overlooked or forgotten; providing a space to discover community through shared experience. He investigates the factors which dominate bodies of color by confronting the established perception of Black and Brown communities; creating a dialog to examining dangerous social customs which perpetuate prejudice. Logan received his MFA in Studio Art from Purdue University and a BA from Illinois College. He is currently based near St. Louis, MO.

Panel Discussion: What Comes Next: A Discussion of Contemporary Representation and Fine Art Canon

DeCarlo Logan

Corey Pemberton, Artist
SaraBeth Post, Artist
Boyd Smith, Curator, United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum


Artist Statement

Social Construction : socially accepted concepts which define meanings, notions, or connotations that are assigned to objects and events in the environment and to people’s notions of their relationships to and interactions with these objects.

Considering the duality of internal and external perception, I’ve become acutely aware of the ways in which I am viewed. This hyper-awareness of self has sparked an interest in the perceptions and assumptions which frame existence. The dichotomy between the way in which the world sees me and the way I see myself is key to understanding my place in the world. Only through analyzing the intangible aspects of identity, can a clear dialog begin.

As a Black male, there is a mode in which I view the world and how the world views me; thereby affecting the connections needed to cultivate a rich inner life. Considering the idea of social construction, this current body of work builds on the concept that our complete identity is a construction of smaller elements. Approaching identity through objecthood tangible representations of my identity are created through the lens of the larger society and interpersonal relationships. Equating material connection with personal experience, constructed artifacts possess both ethereal memory and the physical residue used to examine experience as object.

During my formative years, I was given a set of tools. Not a gift from my grandfather but, my mother. This set of tools was a set of rules and procedures to follow means to protect my body from the world. She taught me how to perform in a way which is socially acceptable in order to survive the prejudices of the world but that the way I am viewed by society at large is not who I am. These rules included “don’t be good, be excellent”,” if you’re angry, never let it show”, and “show respect even if you don’t receive it.” These rules are second nature to me now but speak to a larger social context. Navigating a world which was not designed for someone that looks like me, is filled with filled with a complete set of unspoken rules which dominate the way I am ultimately perceived.

This process is an exploration of internal and external perspectives. Internally, a rich inner life is explored via the networks of relationships constructed throughout a lifetime as a result of relationships with individuals. Dissecting these interactions, the nuances of each relationship begins to emerge. Externally, one’s experience is not only their own. This is something shared intrinsically.

Dirty Laundry

This body of work is a depiction of areas and people around New York which were deemed “hazardous.” The Dirty Laundry series considers systems which are considered the institutional dirty laundry ingrained in American culture. This body of
work is an investigation of specific urban areas and the affect of institutional discrimination on those communities. This body of work merges material and concept. Each piece is composed through mounds of used linen rags which would otherwise be
discarded; this is similar to individuals living in red-lined communities.

Heavy is the Head

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
-King Henry, Act-III, Scene-I

This phrase alludes to a person in charge, or in a leadership role, has to bear many responsibilities, and it is a very tough job. In terms of Black America, the responsibility we bear is the weight a constant psychological battle to stay alive. Every action is in
opposition to deeply flawed systems. Du-rags are object which represent both current Black culture as well as the gruesome roots of American slavery. Each piece acts as a protest against a larger culture numb to the persisting elements of racism in the Black community.

Birth of a Notion

The Birth of a Notion video series is focused on recontexualizing the media used to spread anti-Black hysteria and misinformation. This body of work conceptually challenges the cultural impact of the infamous film, Birth of a Nation. In regards to representation, the film was a tool which popularized anti-Black representation which persists presently. Using archived video and found imagery to confront the reality of our current sociopolitical climate through the lens of nostalgia. Illuminating a narrative which persists in reality as an inescapable cycle.