Exhibition Highlights from the Institute of Contemporary Art, May 2022

May 26, 2022

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston is known for its commitment to providing public access to reflective, inspirational, and provocative contemporary art, and its recent exhibitions are no exception. Last week, we were thrilled to visit our neighboring institution to see two stand out shows that examine the power of perception and the reimagined genre of figurative painting.


Installation View: A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now. On view at ICA Boston through September 5, 2022.



Doron Langberg, Bather, 2021,Oil on Linen, 96 x 80 in.


Gisela McDaniel, Legacy, 2020, jewelry from subject-collaborator, flower, resin, sound, 36 x 50 x 5.5 in.


A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now, located on one of the ICA’s top floor galleries, was the first stop on our visit.The exhibition features work from eight different artists, serving as an evocative examination of what it means to see and be seen through an array of techniques and perspectives. Doron Langberg’s work stood out: in particular, his large-scale format and vivid palette providing a sharp juxtaposition of the mundanity of everyday life and the figurative reality that exists beyond. Langberg effectively captures the intimacy of the ordinary and transforms it into something extraordinary, creating a space where queer voices can flourish. 


AOG intern Sidney Pilot notes: “I was also drawn to Gisela McDaniel’s work, her use of audio and portraiture working in tandem to create a powerful statement about the reclamation of power for female and nonbinary people of color.” McDaniel uses the term “womxn” when speaking about her subjects, aiming to create a space built on trust and care. She invites each sitter to decide how they are portrayed, pairing  the finished work with an audio interview captured during the process. The result is a captivating multi-media display of strength, resilience, and empowerment of both community and self. 


Napoleon Jones-Henderson: I Am As I Am – A Man 


Installation view: I Am As I Am— A Man. On view through July 24, 2022. (might want to edit to tone down the yellow floors)


Located right across the hallway was Roxbury native, Napoleon Jones-Henderson’s solo exhibition, I Am As I Am – A Man. The show serves as a snapshot of over 50 years of work, featuring a variety of mixed-media pieces displayed against vibrant backdrops of sunset orange, lime green, and sky blue. Intricate woven textiles, shrine-like sculptures, and eye-catching mosaics work to capture the experiences and cultures of the African diaspora, creating powerful pieces that both affirm the struggles of the past and look towards advancements of the future. 


His textiles were incredibly intriguing, and leaves visitors thinking about their respective messages long after visiting. Jones-Henderson’s use of glittering thread, poignant phrases, and saturated color creates pieces that are as captivating as they are expressive, serving as a commentary on racial justice and Pan-Africanism in America.


There is still time to catch both shows on view at the ICA Boston!


Written by Sidney Pilot


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