ARTIFACT: Reality-testing through painting and the found object by Neeyah Muhammad
Join Us From 5-6PM for an artist talk with Neeyah Muhammad before the reception on Saturday, September 23rd
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 23, from 6-9 PM
Exhibition Runs: September 23 - October 29, 2023
ARTIFACT: Reality-testing through painting and the found object by Neeyah Muhammad is a meditation on perception through painting and mixed media. Muhammad is interested in constructing reality and how that incorporates into the larger view of the human experience. This exhibition explores how Muhammad’s work functions as epistemological artifacts documenting her emotions and experiences through the lens of abstraction, then obfuscating or amplifying using found objects. This work encapsulates two lines of thought, one focusing on sub-personhood and her relationship with the other. In contrast, the other line of thought explores the transpersonal and transcendental through the representation of personal dreams and other phenomena. We are creating every day, consciously or subconsciously, from the perspective of our vessels.
Neeyah Muhammad follows a conceptual framework that allows her to dissect her experiences as a black woman and translate them into a painting or sculpture through transcendental meditation and abstraction. By creating a framework of the impersonal, Muhammad can talk about complex subjects around mental health, representation, and trauma. Her practice is deeply spiritual, an opportunity to commune with an inner voice and wisdom that life can drown out in its daily noise.
“In America, blackness invokes a societal weight. It comes in the form of generational trauma. It can come in the form of walking into Urban Outfitters and being followed by security. The weight grows when the store clerk asks me whether or not I need help for the 5th time or ignores me when I do. Societal weight and trauma is surveillance, which reminds me of the panopticon. As a black woman, I am hyper-visible, invisible, or both at the same time. At that moment, I resisted the objectivity imposed on my body. My paintings are an attempt to imbue these characteristics into a visual language. In my work, I make an object hyper-visible yet invisible. I aim to create objects that resist objectivity yet embrace its materiality, giving new dimensions to how we see objects vs. people and how some may conflate the two.” -Neeyah Muhammad.
Muhammad’s process divides their work into multiple facets, assigning a paradigm or a set of rules to create within and, from there, generate an abstract or representational piece. Also essential to this process is presenting the weight that comes with these experiences through pigment, circuits, found objects, and fabric in a way that makes the viewer aware of their body. Thoughts become a randomized system that tells Muhammad which “move” to make in the painting, giving form to what may lie dormant. In all of these facets, pigments are presented as a site of shared memory, interiority, or introspection and attempt to re-contextualize color scapes so that they can contain multiple histories and narratives. All of these experiences have mass and energy that Muhammad uses to charge oil pigments.
Neeyah Muhammad is an interdisciplinary artist based out of Chicago, dissecting her raced and gendered experiences through various mediums, presenting the weight that comes with these experiences through pigment, circuits, found objects, and fabric in a way that makes the viewer aware of their body. After ten years of creating, Muhammad expanded her art practice to include music, found objects, fashion, textile work with painting, and mixed media. She started making art in high school within a program called After School Matters, painting skateboards, which inspired her to pursue Art in college. She completed her BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2019 with a concentration in installation art. After graduation, Muhammad started her art business 6REVOLUTION selling prints and luxury wearable art streetwear. In 2019-20 Muhammad was an artist resident at Chicago Artists Coalition as part of their LAUNCH INVITATIONAL and exhibited in 2021 at The Martin and in 2022 at 2240 Gallery, both in Chicago.
This Exhibition is Sponsored by a generous donation from Caroline Kent and Nate Young.