Celebrating improvisation, freedom of imagination, and a continuous process of self-discovery through making, St. Louis, and Accra-based Basil Kincaid is a post-disciplinary artist known for textile compositions that mine what he calls a “spiritual inheritance.” On September 7, 2022, Venus Over Manhattan will present River, Frog and Crescent Moon, the artist’s first New York solo exhibition, featuring a series of recent quilted, embroidered, and sculpted works. Kincaid’s pieces are often made from “emotionally charged materials,” including the cast-off clothes of loved ones, and involve a time-intensive collage technique that channels the inheritance of a multi-generational familial practice of quilting. The exhibition will be on view through October 8th at the gallery’s Upper East Side location.
Basil Kincaid’s work—be it quilting, photography, collage, installation, or performance—often incorporates found, salvaged, or donated materials. Through reworking and re-contextualizing these raw elements, Kincaid offers alternative perspectives from which to consider how context and conditioning impact our identities and self-expression. Kincaid’s practice reckons with notions of Black displacement and the strictures and implications of an oppressive, violent and carceral state on Black people, while concurrently deriving a numinous and metaphysical expansiveness from the ancestral well- spring of knowledge, resilience, and joy that the artist’s work is equally steeped in.
Salient in this body of work is a concept of connection or communion to one’s ancestors and forebears. Investigating the “comforting hands” of ancestry and the infinitude of this lineal knowledge, hands appear visually and metaphorically throughout Kincaid’s quilts and embroideries, acting at turns acting as symbols for a shared spirit and cosmic interconnectedness while also evoking the labor and love, both physical and emotional, of ones predecessors. As the artist writes:
“Ultimately…the goal is to get back to nature and nurture…that expansive yet rooted feeling of wholeness and belonging. Where all things are, and are meant to be, shared.”
Through rejecting fixity or preconceptions of the work, and instead allowing feeling and intuition to act as guide, Kincaid creates room for spiritual manifestations and expressions that lay beyond the confines of consciousness. Both in process and output Kincaid is committed to self-reclamation and creating spaces of healing. Demonstrating the essentiality of hereditary legacy inherit to both individual identity and communal liberation, Kincaid’s work occupies the space that both holds one in tradition and simultaneously encourages and imagines personal freedom and infinitude.
Basil Kincaid: River, Frog and Crescent Moon on view from September 7 through October 8, 2022, with Opening Reception on Wednesday, September 7th from 6:00 – 8:00pm at Venus Over Manhattan, 120 East 65th Street, NYC.