Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning / Rivalizando con el relampágo and Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives. Two exhibitions unpacking the broader history of abstraction and complexity of identity coming to MCA Denver February 2022
By Courtney Law
Published Issue 097, January 2022
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is mounting two major solo presentations of contemporary artists whose work is a powerful exploration into the intersection of cultures, histories and aesthetic traditions. Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning / Rivalizando con el relampágo and Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives feature new and recent works by the artists that recontextualize abstraction within a more expansive legacy of artistic creativity in the Americas.
Exploring the complex layering of identities, histories and artistic legacies that have influenced Eamon Ore-Giron’s approach to painting, Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning / Rivalizando con el relampágo marks the first presentation to examine the artist’s trajectory over more than 20 years of creative practice.
The exhibition follows the progression of Ore-Giron’s paintings since 2002 with an emphasis on recent works in abstraction that place this painting tradition within a broader and more complicated history of form in the Americas. Featuring more than two dozen works, most of which have not been seen publicly before now, Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning / Rivalizando con el relampágo culminates with an immersive presentation of six new paintings from the artist’s Infinite Regress series created specifically for the exhibition.These stunning large-scale paintings rendered with metallic gold on raw linen draw upon an international discourse of geometric abstraction that spans centuries, incorporating references that range from ancient Andean architecture to 20th century modernism.
“The emergence of abstraction in the U.S. has largely been understood as deriving from 20thcentury modernism and related movements such as Abstract Expressionism,” said Miranda Lash, Ellen Bruss Senior Curator of MCA Denver. “He challenges this narrative with references to modernist elements alongside pre-Columbian sources and contemporary indigenous culture that recontextualizes abstraction within a more expansive tradition of artistic creativity in the Americas.”
Providing further opportunity to unpack the broader history of abstraction, Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives, will present a 10 year survey of painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation by the Minneapolis-based artist.
“We are honored to showcase White Hawk’s unique and innovative approach to abstraction and the incorporation of Native histories. Her work offers an opportunity for visitors to think critically and deepen their understanding of artistic history of the United States, drawing significant attention to Native visual history, an integral and underrepresented focus in American abstraction,” continued Miranda Lash.
Dyani White Hawk’s (Sičáŋu Lakota, born 1976) artistic practice is distinguished by a hybrid aesthetic highlighting cross-cultural experiences. She uses techniques that abstract easel painters began using in the 1950s that foregrounded the expression of mark making and focused on form rather than representational imagery as a way to communicate concepts.
Combined with innovations in abstraction grounded in Indigenous aesthetics, the range of White Hawk’s work and influences speak to themes of identity and visibility, placing her at the forefront of dialogue on Native art as fundamental to American artistic narratives. She works across different cultures, histories, and visual traditions to emphasize the significance of shared histories between Native and non-Native people. Using this approach, White Hawk encourages conversations that challenge the lack of representation of Native people, arts, and voices in art movements and beyond.
Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning / Rivalizando con el relampágo and Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives will be on view February 16 through May 22, 2022. For more information, visit mcadenver.org.
Dyani White Hawk: Speaking to Relatives was organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, by Jade Powers, assistant curator.
Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning / Rivalizando con el relampágo is organized by MCA Denver. The exhibition is curated by Miranda Lash, Ellen Bruss Senior Curator of MCA Denver and will be accompanied by a catalog published by Rizzoli, which will be the most substantial publication on the artist to date. This exhibition is generously supported by The Fries Foundation.
Courtney Law is the Director of Communications, Partnerships, and Digital Initiatives at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
Check out MCA’s December artist highlight featuring Kind & Funny’s designer Kelly O’Connell or head to our Explore section to see more from them.