DEBORAH VANKIN - LA Times
“The show is about L.A. and the artists that live here, but also about how we create community and find strength and resilience in the regional and local structures around us that we create for ourselves and that are readily available,” Ellegood said. “Because the national is so chaotic right now, people are looking to their immediate surroundings.”
CRAIG NAKANO - LA Times
Diedrick Brackens tells of his early fascination with West African strip-weaving traditions as well as the so-called kill the gays movement in Uganda to rid the country of gay people. Among Brackens’ pieces featured in “Queer Threads”: the silhouette of a black unicorn rendered against vibrant green and yellow kente cloth.
Brackens’ category-jamming textiles interweave elements of European tapestry, West African weavings and Southern quilting techniques. His works, somewhere between painting and sculpture, folk and fine art, rest partly on the wall and partly on the floor. Combining elements of domestic craft with various artistic traditions, Brackens sometimes opts for commercial colors, other times, he creates his hues from tea, wine and bleach, yielding a fleshy shade that alludes to bodily fluids and the gay vernacular.
Histories of oppression cannot be erased, and their traces, Brackens suggests in This Is Real Life, need to be remembered. But in order to build a better future—a less violent future—we also need to face these histories head-on and turn them upside down. Wrapped up like a present, the sawhorse becomes a powerless artifact, a curiosity. It may still bear a historical burden, but wrapped up in a bow, it can’t harm us anymore.