Folayemi Wilson’s Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times

Hyde Park Art Center invites you to the solo exhibition of artist and designer, Folayemi (Fo) Wilson who reconsiders the power of objects to create a dynamic atmosphere for reflection, meditation, and healing. The exhibition will be on view at Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S. Cornell Avenue) from March 24 until July 14, 2019.

Folayemi (Fo) Wilson

This exhibition of new work combines elements of architecture and integrates visual art, objects, sound and video. As in some of the artist’s previous work (Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, 2016), the house is a powerful symbol and continues Folayemi Wilson’s examination of Southern vernacular architecture. In this case, the shotgun house with its origins in West Africa and economy in layout and design, becomes a form that appears as if it landed from outer space incorporating elements that suggest a futuristic, transplanetary Middle Passage and migration through deep space.

Original soundscapes placed throughout the gallery are conceived to sound like communications from another world with uncanny references to early jazz recordings, religious chants, political manifestos, and other audial ephemera from classic moments in human liberation.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and the Host Committee led by Dawoud Bey, John Ellis, Richard Wright and Valerie Carberry. The ceramic artwork included was produced with assistance from the Arts/Industry Program at the John Michael Kohler Art Center.

About Folayemi Wilson — Folayemi (Fo) Wilson is an artist/designer, educator, independent curator and writer. Her art practice crosses interdisciplinary boundaries between the visual arts, sonic media, a regard for the handmade, and a background in design and object making. She earned a MFA in Furniture Design with a concentration in Art History, Theory & Criticism from the Rhode Island School of Design and is an associate professor and co-director of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Columbia College Chicago.

Wilson has been a grant recipient of Creative Time, the Graham Foundation for Advance Studies in the Fine Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Propeller Fund. She lectures about art, design, and craft to international audiences, and her writing and reviews have appeared in NKA, Journal of Contemporary African Art, the International Review of African American Art (IRAAA), and Communication Arts. Wilson curated the exhibition The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft (2010-12), which debuted at the Fuller Craft Museum and traveled to national venues such as the Milwaukee Art Museum.  

Other curatorial projects include Back Alley Jazz, (2018) a project of blkHaUS studios with Norman Teague in collaboration with the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and the Hyde Park Art Center, and  Ekphest: the Festival of Art + Word (2015), co-curated with Krista Franklin. Wilson was the 2013-14 Inaugural Faculty Fellow at the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) and has been awarded residencies or fellowships at ACRE, Djerassi Resident Program, John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry program, Haystack Mountain Center for Craft, the MacDowell Colony, Purchase College/SUNY Purchase, New York among others. Wilson was honored as a 3Arts awardee in 2015 and her work is included in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design. She is on the board of the American Craft Council and is currently a 2018-19 artist in the Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center.

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Hyde Park Art Center is a unique resource that advances contemporary visual art in Chicago by connecting artists and communities in unexpected ways. As an open forum for exploring the artistic process, the Art Center fosters creativity through making, learning about, seeing, and discussing art—all under one roof. The Art Center is funded in part by: Allstate Insurance Company; Alphawood Foundation; Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts; Bank of America; Bloomberg Philanthropies; a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Crown Family Philanthropies; David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation; Field Foundation of Illinois; Harper Court Arts Council; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Irving Harris Foundation; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; National Endowment for the Arts; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; and the generosity of its members and people like you.