Jefferson Pinder: Ghost Light
How often does a community look at itself through the eyes of ‘the other’? Opening March 4th, Chicago-based artist Jefferson Pinder will create a site-specific and performance based installation exploring race and conditioning in the Midwest. Based on several months of research, Pinder will direct community members to comment on the divisions and complexities of race-relations in the region and across the nation illuminating lives and personal perspectives in the process. These multi-faceted portraits will form the heart of Jefferson Pinder: Ghost Light. Through the symbol of the “Ghost Light”, Pinder references the theatrical superstition in which the darkened stage is illuminated by a light, often a single electric bulb mounted to a stand, intended to ward off the theater’s ghosts. In the absence of a performance, the Ghost Light becomes representative of all of the lives and narratives that have inhabited that space.
As an interdisciplinary artist, Pinder creates performances, video work and sculptural objects that challenge the viewer to think critically about themselves and our highly polarized society. Using the “museum” as an example of a place that may seem unwelcoming to some, Pinder’s work will break down the perception. Challenged by the many barriers and hindrances that keep people from stepping inside a museum or art space, Pinder will actively bring members of the community “into the fold” of the art making practice and, in so doing, provide the exhibition with its soul. Ghost Light will feature interactive sculptural installations made from castoff materials, video projections and scheduled live performances. Developing over the course of the exhibition, three distinct perspectives will come to life upon sculptural stage settings providing opportunities for enlightenment, reflection and inspiration. Between gallery performances, the Ghost Light will be lit. It is Pinder’s hope that, as the exhibition unfolds, previously overlooked aspects of the community will be revealed.
Pinder received his BA in theatre and his MFA in painting and mixed media, both at the University of Maryland. He has mounted performances and exhibitions across the country, and his work is in the collections of the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the Driskell Center. He has received a number of fellowships and residency awards, including a 2017 USA Fellowship. He teaches art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
On view March 4-June 4, 2017
The exhibition will bring personal histories and race front and center through three live performances this spring. Pinder will document these performances with video and audio recordings for inclusion in this multi-media installation. Student filmmakers from Rock Island’s 2016 Urban Exposure summer film program will be invited to become a part of the installation by filming in the live performances taking place within the exhibition on March 11.
This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous participation of the following individuals:
Luis Acosta Tejada
Theatre Department of St. Ambrose University: