Kelly Barrie, William Cordova, Maria Nazor, William Pope.L, Wilfredo Prieto, Kay Rosen, Erin Shirreff
Sikkema Jenkins Gallery, New York
28 February – 28 March, 2009
In 1988, Brigit Pegeen Kelly wrote her seminal prose poem titled Song. Pegeen Kelly’s Song is a proclamation of strength, perseverance and remembrance in light of personal struggle and social oppression. The poem describes the story of a young girl and her goat named Broken Thorn Sweet Blackberry, which was callously decapitated by a group of young boys. Despite its victimization, the goat kept singing, forcing the boys to remember their act.
Broken Thorn Sweet Blackberry is a group exhibition that presents diverse artworks focusing on autonomy and transformation. The included seven artists propose conversations between the opaque and the diaphanous; the locatable and the anonymous; the redistribution of the margin towards a new center; and the permanent versus the ephemeral. The exhibition considers new modes of artistic encounters. It is here that the collective imaginary can (re)connect within one’s self and between each other.
The works included in Broken Thorn Sweet Blackberry extend the poem throughout the exhibition, proposing a conversation between the interiority of dreams and the exterior forces of reality, allowing us to see how we strive in life to connect the two. Here, Song can perhaps be read as a metaphor for a collective spirit rising beyond the limitations of the body or other hierarchical structures. The collective spirit is also felt in the energy and direction of the artists’ visions, which maintain notions of hybridity, simplicity, the personal, hope, and potential.