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Black is flat at Roots and Culture

Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez and Darryl DeAngelo Terrell’s two person show, currently open at Roots and Culture brings together the work of two very different artists. Terrell’s text pieces act as a striking foil to Rodriguez’s photographic works which explore the legacy of documentary photography drawn from the legacy of the Sandanista National Liberation Front and declassified School of the America’s psychological operations manuals. By exploiting the ambiguities inherent to legacy of documentary forms from recent history, Rodriguez attempts to lay bare anomalies that affect the materiality of pictures and documents when transposed from their historical context as well as the relationship of textual and visual information to ask deeper questions.
Terrell’s work is concerned with the dangers inherent to being black in America during a time when the black subject is under attack from police and private citizens, a time when it is uncertain whether or not black bodies will make it home. Terrell considers the collective anxiety of the black community and exposes them through stark works of plain text. Terrell’s fascination lies in making the thoughts and words of mothers to black sons and daughters the center of the work carried by these texts in the form of prayers, as well as fragments of conversation.
In spite of the show’s compelling subject matter, the entire exhibition over all falls a little bit flat. The deep subject matters that these artists are exploring would perhaps be best addressed in separate shows. Nonetheless, both artists deliver bodies of work that warrant a good thoughtful viewing.

Spencer Hutchinson, Chicago Editor

Volume 33 no 2 November / December 2018 p31

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