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The Dalai Lama once said, “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity and I do not let expectations hinder my path,” meaning he allows himself the intervention of the unknown rather than being tied to any predetermined notions of what could or should be. Synchronicity, as it relates to the creation of art, follows the same principles in that all great art allows for the possibility of improvisation, chance or the “divine accident,” wherein the artist discovers inspiration in a place they might never have thought to look initially. In any circumstance, the improbable always yields more gold than the obvious.

But how do artists recognize not only the importance of improbability, but foster this kind of high level receptivity? How do you find something by deliberately not seeking it out, knowing that in this ineffable gesture is the most powerful kind of artistic expression? It requires an understanding of the laws that govern the universe, or as Einstein once said, “the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources, even from yourself,” that is, to have faith that what we are seeking in the living world is also seeking us; to receive everything, all we need do is to be open to it.

This exhibition takes as its subject the nebulous, syncretic moment, celebrates the ambiguous gesture and expounds on the improbable instance where magical thinking occurs without our knowledge or awareness. For example, the paintings of Lenz Geerk investigate the strange and luminous distance between figures and objects, creating a force-field of psychologically charged spaces. Brenna Youngblood explores the boundaries between language and abstraction, investigating the nuances and complexities of words and how meanings can be subverted and reinterpreted, whereas Kehinde Wiley employs a more traditional painterly approach, using the visual language of old master portraiture to subvert myth and symbol alike. Beyte Saar’s sculptural investigations continue to compel and surprise while raising important questions about identity, as do Jeffrey Gibson’s contemporary sculptural figures.

All the artists in this exhibition are not only imaginative and curious about the world around them, but also bring to their work a level of inquisitiveness that supersedes cognition - instead, privileging instinct - and both a playfulness and a willingness to commit to the improbable and the ambiguous to allow life’s riddles to remain unsolved.

To continue the works’ challenge of conventional categories and their relationship to one another, this exhibition will open in phases, with individual pieces introduced throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of Jordan Phillips II, 2020

Kehinde Wiley
Portrait of Jordan Phillips II, 2020
Oil on linen
96.1 x 64 in (244.1 x 162.6 cm)

Betye Saar

Betye Saar
Objects, Obsessions, Obligations, 2013
Mixed media assemblage
49 x 20 x 13 in (124.46 x 50.8 x 33 cm)

Wangari Mathenge

Wangari Mathenge
The Ascendants VI (Imperial Reckoning), 2020
Oil on canvas
68 x 90 in (172.7 x 228.6 cm)

Wangari Mathenge

Wangari Mathenge
The Ascendants III (Assault at Mogadishu), 2020
Oil on canvas
20 x 20 in (50.8 x 50.8 cm)

Brenna Youngblood, X, 2012

Brenna Youngblood
X, 2012
Wood
78.5 x 47.875 x 5 in (199.4 x 121.6 x 12.7 cm)

Lenz Geerk

Lenz Geerk
The Plague III, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
9.45 x 11.81 in (24 x 30 cm)

Lenz Geerk

Lenz Geerk
Protest Singer, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
31.5 x 15.75 in (80 x 40 cm)

Betye Saar, Red Vision at the Villa, 1994

Betye Saar

Red Vision at the Villa, 1994

Mixed media assemblage 

14 x 11 x 1.5 in (35.6 x 27.9 x 3.8 cm)

Betye Saar, Green Vision at the Villa, 1994

Betye Saar

Green Vision at the Villa, 1994

Mixed media assemblage

14 x 11 x 1.5 in (35.6 x 27.9 x3.8 cm)

Betye Saar, Blue Vision at the Villa, 1994

Betye Saar

Blue Vision at the Villa, 1994

Mixed media assemblage

13.875 x 10.875 x 1.875 in. (35.2 x 27.6 x 4.8 cm)

Amoako Boafo

Amoako Boafo
Nuerki, 2019
Oil on canvas
40 x 30 in (101.6 x 76.2 cm)

Jeffrey Gibson, No Simple Word For Time, 2014

Jeffrey Gibson

No Simple Word For Time, 2014

Wool army blanket, glass beads, rawhide, Mongolian goat fur, quartz crystals, tin jingles, artificial sinew, nylon thread, metal wire, steel rod, aspen wood base

78.5 x 34.75 x 12.5 in (199.4 x 88.3 x 31.8 cm)

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Vibes, 2020

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe 

Vibes, 2020

Oil on canvas

48 x 36 in (121.9 x 91.4 cm)

Dominic Chambers, Understanding the Sky, 2020

Dominic Chambers
Understanding the Sky, 2020
Oil on linen
62 x 77 in (157.5 x 195.6 cm)

Brenna Youngblood, The Rise of Chocolate Bar, 2010

Brenna Youngblood

The Rise of Chocolate Bar, 2010

Mixed media with chocolate bar on canvas

48 x 36.125 in (121.9 x 91.8 cm)

Brenna Youngblood, Flowers in the Attic, 2020

Brenna Youngblood

Flowers in the Attic, 2020

Mixed media on canvas

60 x 40 in (152.4 x 101.6 cm) 

Ardeshir Tabrizi, Wild Horses, 2020

Ardeshir Tabrizi

Wild Horses, 2020

Graphite and gouche on printed paper mounted to canvas

24 x 18 in (61.0 x 45.7 cm)

Ardeshir Tabrizi, All the tired horses in the sun, 2020

Ardeshir Tabrizi
All the Tired Horses in the Sun, 2020
Graphite and gouache on printed paper mounted to canvas
54 x 50.25 in (137.2 x 127.6 cm)