Chelsea A. Flowers, Kearra Amaya Gopee,
E. Jane, Shala Miller, Elle Perez


Chelsea A. Flowers, Kearra Amaya Gopee,
E. Jane, Shala Miller, Elle Perez

MAY 30 - JULY 14

OCDChinatown’s current group show is a screening1 of video works curated by E. Jane, featuring Chelsea A. Flowers, Kearra Amaya Gopee, Shala Miller, Elle Pérez and the artist.

The works in this show interrogate or evoke site. The settings they question or conjure are not indeterminate per se—you could visit them, or could you?

Well, you can take the subway like Elle does in SHAPER (2023), but I’ve never thought about waves crashing against rocks in relation to the metro before. And although I know you can take the D, F, N, or Q to Coney Island, my brain still doesn’t process the cut between that seaside site and train cars—are they really the same place? You can visit one or several beaches and associate them with the Carribean beaches that Kearra tells us we’ve all seen in Terra Nullius (2018-2019). You could possibly visit the woods they shot in. But without the acts of ritual, would it be the same site? In Skowhegan 4th of July Performance.mp4 (2022), Chelsea’s experience of a clearing in the woods in Maine, surrounded by trees, and doing stand-up for a crowd is very specific. You can see what Chelsea is seeing through the Go-Pro, but can you ever experience that location as she did, filled with the awkward laughter of the crowd, standing in her body?

Some of the sites in these works are imagined places or several settings stitched together into one place. Shala’s monologue for Mrs. Lovely (2022) begins the narrative in a fictional suburban neighborhood, inspired by the suburban neighborhoods they grew up seeing in Ohio.2The character Shala plays is frustrated with a neighbor’s nearby garden. “If you’re going to have the weeds there, for the love of god, at least protect them from the lilies!”, says Mrs. Lovely, and suddenly I am on a porch, staring at a badly kept garden in my mind. In MHYSA-TogetherAgain.mp4 (2024), I play off the fantastical Afro-paradise in Janet Jackson’s “Together Again” video. I mainly chose to key my alter-ego MHYSA’s body into the Maldives. I’ve never been to the Maldives, but was Janet truly engaging with the space she performs in?

Whether or not you can visit these spaces, the garden in Shala’s mind is probably not the garden in my mind or yours.

- E. Jane

About the Artists:

Living between Detroit, MI and Richmond VA, Chelsea A. Flowers is an artist who holds an MFA in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a BFA from Denison University in studio art, with a concentration in Black Studies. She has shown work and performed at various galleries including; ACRE Projects Space (Chicago, IL), Red Bull Arts (Detroit, MI), Roots and Culture (Chicago, IL), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), The Sculpture Center (Cleveland, OH), Trout Museum of Art (Appleton, WI), The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry (Chicago, IL), Torrance Museum (Torrance, CA), the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, (Detroit, MI), and the Momentary (Bentonville, AK). She has expanded her skills and research by attending ACRE (Steuben, WI), Ox-Bow School of Arts and Artist Residency (Saugatuck, MI), Real Time and Space (Oakland, CA) residencies, and is an alum of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her practice explores subversion to popular culture and how “otherness” is created, through social and cultural critique of her environment. She explores these ideas through grief, comedic tropes, and participatory performance.

Kearra Amaya Gopee (they/them) is an anti-disciplinary visual artist from Carapichaima, Kairi (the larger of the twin-island nation known as Trinidad and Tobago), living on Lenape land (New York). Using video, sculpture, sound, writing and other media, they identify both violence and time as primary conditions that undergird the anti-Black world in which they work: a world that they are intent on working against through myriad collective interventions. They render this violence elastic and atemporal--leaving ample room for the consideration and manipulation of its history, implications on the present and possible afterlives. Their work has been exhibited at venues such as documenta15, The Kitchen, White Columns, and at film festivals internationally. Previously, they have been awarded fellowships at Macdowell, the Leslie Lohman Museum, Queer|Art, and the Global Fund for Women. In 2024, they will be in residence at ISCP as well as Headlands Center for the Arts. Previously, they have participated in residencies at Skowhegan, Red Bull Arts Detroit and NLS Kingston in Jamaica. Gopee is currently an Elaine G. Weitzen ISP Studio Program Fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They hold an MFA from UCLA with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Studio and a BFA in Photography and Imaging from New York University. Currently, they live and work between Trinidad and Tobago and New York City.

Shala (pronounced shay-luhh) Miller, also know as Freddie June when they sing, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by two southerners named Al and Ruby. At around the age of 10 or 11, Miller discovered quietude, the kind you’re sort of pushed into, and then was fooled into thinking that this is where they should stay put. Since then, Miller has been trying to find their way out, and find their way into an understanding of themself and their history, using photography, video, film, writing and singing as an aid in this process. They love to bake and consider dessert their religion.

Elle Pérez is an artist from the Bronx, New York, who lives and works in New York City. Pérez primarily works in photography and moving image, depicting intimate moments, emotional exchanges, and visceral details within their portraits, landscapes, and films. Their work has been exhibited across the United States and internationally, and has been the subject of institutional solo exhibitions at MASS MoCA (2023); the Baltimore Museum of Art (2022); the Carnegie Museum of Art (2021); Public Art Fund (2019); and MoMA PS1 (2018). They were included in the 59th International Venice Biennale (2022), and the Whitney Biennial (2019). and have been featured in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2022), Ballroom Marfa, Texas (2022), Renaissance Society, Chicago (2020); Barbican Centre, London (2020); and the Brooklyn Museum, New York (2019). Pérez’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among others.

E. Jane is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist and musician from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Their practice includes image, video, performance, installation, and sound. They are interested in the interiority, perspectives, and labor of Black women and femmes, exploring how they navigate networked culture and surveillance through mostly digital archives. Jane has developed the persona MHYSA, a queer underground popstar performing sometimes in their work and worldwide. This Gesamtkunstwerk project engages Black music culture and divadom through embodiment. Jane has an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. They have also participated in the Studio Museum's Artist-in-Residence Program (2019-2020), (as a part of SCRAAATCH) the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2022) and Bemis Center Artist-in-Residence Program (2023). Jane is also the author of the NOPE Manifesto, published in 2016. Recent solo shows include Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2023), The Kitchen, New York (2022), OCD Chinatown, New York (2021), Glasgow International, Glasgow (2018) and American Medium, New York (2017).

1  I almost called the show a mixtape—all these video works shown on one screen. But it’s a viewing room/screening (I am undecided on the word). Some might say calling it a mixtape would allow for a right to be disjointed, incoherent, and some might say a mixtape points to a mix of songs and skits joined together to make coherence.

2 Speaking of site, Mrs. Lovely is usually a part of a video installation where the video is projected on the window of a door.

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