AMINA ROSS: START WITH THE FLESH
OPENING THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 6-8PM
NOVEMBER 10 - DECEMBER 21, 2023
Someday is happy to announce Amina Ross: "Start with the Flesh," opening on Thursday, November 9, from 6-8 pm.
Ross is an artist, writer, and educator whose practice scrutinizes the subtle workings of systems of power and their influence on social perception and behavior. Ross' creative output spans video, sound, performance, and installation, emphasizing nonlinear storytelling and free association to bypass overly analytical thinking. Through these varied gestures, they seek to destigmatize the diversity of human experience and explore how feeling, embodied knowledge, and intimacy function as vital survival technologies - particularly for Black, queer, trans, and femme individuals.
"Start with the Flesh" introduces new video and glass sculptures that excavate this thematic terrain, unearthing concepts such as fragility, visibility, violence, submission, preservation, insulation, and resistance. The works are defined by a dichotic tension - teasing content from the elusive space between corporeal transience and creative transcendence. Central to the show is a seamlessly looped video that weaves text, sound, and image fragments into a digital tapestry of socio-poetic introspection. A whispered voiceover prefaces the work, intoning a human body as it tries to reconcile itself within space and time and navigate an often inhospitable world - weighed down by the omnipresent force of gravity and other invisible systems of oppression:
"Start with the flesh, reckon with the pounds. The mass. Recall that specificity. This requires naming gravity - the impacts of gravity on your heavy body. In this moment, know no ease. Settle into density."
The video subsequently morphs into a warped realm of 3D architectural scans drawn from the artist's everyday journeys. An equally disorienting soundscape, co-produced in collaboration with Isaac Pross, accompanies these fractured renderings. Interspliced throughout, a butcher recounts his own daily reckoning with flesh, using explicit language that starkly contrasts the more abstract preface. The use of spatial warping and slippery language laden with double meaning speaks to the need for more reliable and inclusive support systems - literally and metaphorically.
Ross expands on the theme of structural and psychological support through a new series of glass sculptures. The hazily-tinted, bulbous forms resemble fragments of bodies and buildings suspended precariously on metal armatures - a visual metaphor for the density of bodily existence and the fleeting fragility of lived experience. Museological mounting hardware imbues the works with a relic-like quality, bearing traces of the past yet suspended in time, perpetually beyond our grasp. In addition to the formal fidelity between the sculptures and video, Ross points to Lucretius' "The Nature of Things" as a source of inspiration for pursuing glass as a medium. In the text, Lucretius describes images as translucent films that reflect off objects and float through the air. Transitory and layered, they "flow from things, slip off, and leave," splintering when they strike a rock or piece of wood but occasionally passing through certain substances, like glass. Through this reading, Ross conceives of glass as a perceptual portal, a mediating lens that can clarify or distort.
Collectively, the works in the show function as a testament to the power of vulnerability, the resonance of collective feeling, and the beauty of impermanence. Rejecting the tendency to cling to meta-narratives and monophonic meaning, Ross instead celebrates multiplicity and transience as both a form of resistance and a conduit for change.
Amina Ross holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Yale School of Art, where they received the Katherine Beinecke Michel Scholarship and the Fannie B. Pardee Prize in sculpture. Their work has been recently exhibited at the Hessel Museum of Art (Hudson, NY), the Tang Teaching Museum (Saratoga Springs, NY), Sentiment (Zurich, CH), Wave Hill (Bronx, NY), The Luminary (St. Louis, MO), Iceberg Projects (Chicago, IL), M23 (New York, NY) and Centro De Cultura Digital (Mexico City, MX) among other venues. In the summer of 2023, they were a featured artist at the 68th annual Flaherty Film Seminar: Queer World Mending. Currently, Ross is the 2023-2024 Estelle Lebowitz Artist in Residence at Douglass College, Rutgers University. They recently completed residencies at Fire Island Artist Residency, Lower East Side Printshop, Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, Wave Hill, Abrons Art Center, and Harvestworks among others. As an educator, Ross approaches the classroom as a site where they can co-create critical agency with students. They have taught at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, The New School and Vassar College.