Mariane Ibrahim is pleased to announce an exclusive representation of Berlin-based artist Shannon T. Lewis.
Beginning with assemblage — the forefront of her practice — Lewis utilizes fragments of form and space. Particularly inspired by social cues of culture and class, whimsical aspects in the work evoke a notion of freedom by examining marginalized identities.
Haunting portraits derived from archival and personal sources, Lewis imbues the past and present to construct a seemingly dystopian future. By reconfiguring human forms and the spaces they inhabit, the fragmentation binds political and historical elements.
Lewis paints a raw transmission to excavate past imagery without the burden of counteracting or uplifting a narrative. Contradictions are referenced in the dichotomic elements presented as space and time, figures and objects. These compositions are unsettled, with the impression they are drifting away, attempting to coexist, the two parallel dimensions in collision.
“I feel called to portray bodies fluidly throughout my work, setting the stage for Black women to be as ubiquitous and as universal as any other. I am interested in deciphering regulatory structures of society — and how the bodies who are not deemed as equal are regulated the strongest.”
The spectrum of the work dissects necro politics, investigating structures and how mobility is affected by the caste systems we are in. Concrete elements, both visually and metaphorically in the focus of architecture are fluid throughout her practice.
The use of architectural elements is a recurring, oftentimes inspired by ornate iconography. Painted and interlaced limbs reconnoiter the history of femininity and its relation to Blackness. Lewis offers a window into freedom and body politics as the figurative compositions explore surrealism. In doing so, the subjects are energized with realism, positioning them within a new context, a new space to rejoice.
“I see alternative and endless possibilities. The visual disruptions and intemporal refinement in her paintings encapsulate moments of indulgence...” shares Mariane Ibrahim.
Her intent is to disguise and to reveal secrets and unspoken desires, using anonymity as a way of refuge and transgression to unearth emotion. The reverie of figures tell a story of a surreal Dali-like dreamscape, immersing the audience in a world of vulnerable illusion and mystery.
The artist will have her first solo exhibition with Mariane Ibrahim in Chicago in 2022.