Cauleen Smith - Jaguar Mary/Jocelyn Taylor - Ayanna U'Dongo
Curated by Jackie Clay
March 24 - April 22, 2017
Et al., 620 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA
Artist talk with Ayanna U'Dongo and curator Jackie Clay
Saturday, April 8, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Et al. presents the early works of three videomakers Calueen Smith, Jaguar Mary/Jocelyn Taylor, and Ayanna U'Dongo. The works' dates span from 1993 to 2001, a critical time for the medium—marking the ebb of magnetic tape video and rise of multiple forms of digital video—and the contentious term, "identity politics." Analog videotape recording was not film, or it's ever-present descendent digital video. And those artists that turned to this medium were drawn to its particular aesthetic, and both financial and practical accessibility. Jaguar Mary and U'Dongo consistently engaged with the medium during this time, and Smith continues to employ concepts begun in this early work/time.
sisters and brothers brings together a small group of works that cover a constellation of subjects: desire; expressions of power sometimes through the body, but also between siblings; sexual and gender-based violence; black masculinity; black femininity; butch as gender performed and as threat; "hard femme" as the nexus of pleasure and sexual desire. The exhibition's title is a teasing reference to co-opted African American vernacular english of the time and the 90s current nouveau chic.
sisters and brothers as an exhibition is about black folks. It looks at rather than represents. Much of the works present complicated representations of black femmes and women as willingly visible, always primary and desirable. It’s about black relationships to one another, proximity, and forms of intimacy. It is also about fissure, disfunction, and points of departure.
Special thanks to San Francisco Cinematheque and Bay Area Video Coalition.
Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Her films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibition: Studio Museum of Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the New Museum, New York, D21 Leipzig and Decad, Berlin. She shows her drawings and 2D work with Corbett vs. Dempsey. Smith was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Sacramento. She earned a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. Smith is based in the great city of Chicago and serves as faculty for the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.
Jaguar Mary/Jocelyn Taylor is a performance artist, glossolalia vocalist, filmmaker, and hoop dancer. Her specific concerns, and the directives that have driven her art practice, engage black feminist discourse, questions of history, and now, ritual performance and practice in art as tools to help us out of our world crisis. Jaguar Mary née Jocelyn Taylor was a founding member of the queer video artist collective, House of Color. In 1990, she co-founded the Clit Club with Julie Tolentino, a dance party focused on infusing identity politics with sex-positive lesbian visibility. Jocelyn Taylor is an alumni of the prestigious Whitney Independent Study Program. Her first gallery show, Alien at Rest, a video installation in which the artist asserts her humanity while walking nude through the streets of New York, opened at Deitch Projects-Soho in 1996. Her films and video installations have been featured in exhibitions at MoMA, the New Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her video pieces and installations have shown in the Johannesburg and Havana Biennials, and gallery spaces in Venezuela, Canada, France, and the Netherlands. Jaguar Mary has had the pleasure of collaborating with feminist artists Annie Sprinkle, Yvonne Rainer, and Cherly Dunye. Her essay, "Testimony of a Naked Woman," was included in Afrekete: An anthology of Black Lesbian Writing (1995) edited by Catherine McKinely and Joyce Delaney. Jaguar Mary has an MFA in Film and Video from California Institute for the Arts. She is currently completing an MFA in Performance and Performance Studies as a member of its inaugural cohort at Pratt Institute.
Ayanna U'Dongo is a self-trained, experimental video artist that utilizes the medium to heal herself and others. She believes in the power of positive, audacious dreams and everyone's right to fulfill them. Healing is a connective process that requires engagement of present-thinking, higher power vision, invincible courage, and fearless vulnerability; skills she has developed over the decades for self-actualization and personal growth. In 1991 U'Dongo began researching and working with video as a staff at Video Data Bank, Chicago. There U'Dongo consumed all things video art and was influenced by the diaristic and narrative styles of George Kuchar, Marlon Riggs, Thomas Harris, Sadie Benning, and Jocelyn Taylor (included in the exhibition). Her explorations of sexuality, gender, and cultural identity are designed to provoke, explore, and celebrate the power of diversity, inclusion, freedom, and sacrifice.