Thursday night (July 21), OkaySpace Gallery was turned into a tangible positive vibe for those interested in black contemporary art.
TunnelVision hosted “FIVE/5THS”, a collective art show that not only brought black artists to the forefront, but brought the black contemporary art market into play and allowed attendees to take part in the much needed economy. The artists decided it was time to launch themselves into what they believe in, not letting life dictate how they approach or deliver their art. TunnelVision is an artist collective made up of JD Malone, Stephen Small-Warner, Dexter R. Jones, Sophia Dawson, and Geminelle, and the opening night for the group was nothing short of a success.
OkaySpace was filled with great music, spirits from Bed-Vyne Wine, and the artists themselves, working the room and getting into their art with their guests. The walls had been covered in eye catching pieces, ranging from black and white photography to a painting of a scene in Do The Right Thing. Sophia Dawson painted the former as a 4-piece series in the room. Each work has TV colored bars in the background, a truly sensory experience.
“The color bars paintings kind of started as a way to get people to stop,” explained Dawson. “I couldn’t understand how people got so worked up and angry and were willing to take it to the streets, and then a few weeks would pass and then I wouldn’t hear anything until the next case. I started to do these paintings to prolong people’s attention span.”
The other artists each had their own reasons for the collective mission, making the night multi-faceted with inspiration and possibility for the guests. Dexter Jones felt that he wanted his guests to leave with a feeling of “togetherness, wholeness, and oneness,” but also to leave feeling empowered.
“I want them to see our work and say to themselves ‘Oh! this sh*t is easy, I can do this sh*t too.’ A lot of the work I created here today, I was inspired by something that I saw and a lot of times I feel like the average everyday person looks at something and sees a dope ad campaign, or magazine, and thinks ‘oh that’s something I couldn’t do.'” With a piece entitled “Envy Of The World,” Jones has done just that by highlighting the beauty of the black woman and putting her on display for the world to appreciate, but also putting himself and his work there as a resource for more art to be created.
Stephen Small-Warner felt that in this time where black people could be burdened down with the weight of their lives not being valued, “FIVE/5THS” served to uplift and be a reminder.
“TunnelVision started in the first place to fill the gap that was missing. We’ve come up before, there has been a rising. I went to the Louvre and I realized there’s this big gap between Ancient Egypt and European history and now. None of our images are there. This is what this is about. I want people to come in here and feel and see how beautiful they are and the reflections of themselves.”
TunnelVision has most definitely achieved their mission for the show and provided an open space for those who enjoy the art to come learn, regenerate, and be inspired. The artwork is not something that should be missed or is easy to forget so do not miss out. The show will continue and can be visited at OkaySpace Gallery, 281 North 7th St, Brooklyn, NY.