Sikkema Jenkins & Co. presents I AM A RAINBOW TOO, a solo exhibition of new work by Jeffrey Gibson.
I AM A RAINBOW TOO marks Jeffrey Gibson’s first exhibition with Sikkema Jenkins & Co. and is his first show focused primarily on his painting practice since 2010. The exhibition features six large canvases along with a smaller scale painted triptych entitled SKIN in red, yellow, and brown tones, and a seven-part work entitled I AM A RAINBOW TOO painted in a seven-color spectrum all bordered by unique beaded inset frames. For this body of work, Gibson continues his exploration of geometric abstraction in bright colors and strong patterning, but integrating text – common in his beaded panels, textiles, garments, and popular series of punching bags – onto the painted canvas for the first time using a typography developed by the artist. The paintings are accompanied by two punching bags and two tapestries on trading post weavings, embellished with glass beads, jingles, steel studs, ribbons, and fringe.
For the past seven years Gibson has used language as a strategy to investigate issues of race, sexuality, religion, and gender – a reflection of his own layered identity. Appropriated primarily from popular musical sources, the lyrics used by Gibson are re-contextualized and imbued with new meaning and the power of political statements. For the works featured in I AM A RAINBOW TOO, Gibson selected lyrics from songs used in dance mixes that he heard going to night clubs in Korea, Germany, Chicago, and London in the 80s and 90s. With messages that range from poignant to proud and celebratory, Gibson reflects back on the LGBT+ rights movement of those decades and recognizes the continued need for these messages today.
Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972, Colorado Springs, CO) grew up in major urban centers in the United States, Germany, Korea, and England. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995 and Master of Arts in painting at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1998. He is a citizen of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and is half Cherokee. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Bard College and lives and works near Hudson, New York.
Gibson’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Denver Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.; National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR; among others. Gibson is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant and the Creative Capital Foundation Grant.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)