Heather Day and Joe Ray on GALLERY PLATFORM.LA
Week 6 | June 25 - July 2 2020
June 25, 2020
The works exhibited in Joe Ray: I Can Hear The Scream were completed in 1993, after the LA Riots that were sparked by the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers on charges of assault and excessive force against Rodney King. Several of these paintings and sculptures were featured in Prospect.3: Notes for Now (Curated by Franklin Sirmans), 2014, but not exhibited as a complete group since 1993. Joe Ray’s assemblage-paintings probe issues of identity and racial justice. In Blue Spade, 1993, he shatters the term “spade” as a racist epithet by demonstrating its fluidity and arbitrary nature—that is, by defamiliarizing it, as Betye Saar and David Hammons have also done. While the visually appealing works undermine negative stereotypes, they simultaneously, via gestures to Africa (textiles and masks) and to America (the flag), explore ideas about African American belonging.
Heather Day makes abstract paintings comprised of scraped, smeared, and flooded pools of pigment. The compulsive energy of her work oscillates between rehearsed abandon and careful restraint. She studies the mechanisms of sensory perception — mining what happens when the body interprets a sound as a texture, or a scent as a color. Shown here, Red Hook, 2020, was created immediately after her residency at Vermont Studio Center, back in her San Francisco studio.