Four Now: New Works by Bisa Butler, Adebunmi Gbadebo, Leonardo Benzant and Gio Swaby at Claire Oliver Gallery




Bisa Butler, photograph by Gioncarolo Valentine, courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery

Claire Oliver Gallery is pleased to announce a group exhibition Four Now: New Works by Bisa Butler, Adebunmi Gbadebo, Leonardo Benzant and Gio Swaby.  The exhibition and a dynamic virtual program of talks and events is designed to telegraph the excitement and energy of Miami Art Week to the gallery’s Harlem headquarters.  The program includes a range of conversations between the artists and guest speakers including actor, artist and collector Hill Harper, James Beard Award-winning chef Bryant Terry, Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Dr. Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Newark Museum Curator of American Art. The exhibition will be on view by appointment December 1, 2020 – January 9, 2021 and virtual programming can be joined online at the gallery’s website.

Leonardo Benzant, That Which Weaves All Of Time Together (detail)
upholstery fabric, string, monofilament, leather, gel-medium, acrylic, pony beads, semi-precious stones and seed beads; 40 x 150 x 15 in | 101.6 x 381.0 x 38.1 cm,

“This winter we will be missing seeing all of our colleagues, collectors and friends in Miami for the annual art pilgrimage, so we decided to bring the energy of the art fairs to our Harlem headquarters,” states Claire Oliver.  “Those intimate conversations and learning experiences along with the star power and feasts for all senses is what we are looking to add to the mix of the virtual art fair experience; and we are premiering some of the best contemporary art you can find.”

The exhibition will feature 10 works by gallery artists including:
A new life-scale quilt work by Bisa Butler will debut, whose textile portraits of people of color are created from layers of brightly colored fabrics with a multiplicity of meanings. Butler’s composite characters are inspired by historical photography; the resulting images are rendered life-sized with viewers often engaging the subjects eye to eye.  Butler currently has a solo exhibition on view at the Art Institute of Chicago and forthcoming exhibitions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2023.

A new 14-foot tall sculpture by artist Leonardo Benzant, entitled That Which Weaves All Things Together, the latest in his series “Paraphernalia of the Urban Shaman M:5” comprised of dynamic hanging beaded structures inspired by the Yoruba community and the beaded regalia of African material culture.

Four works by Adebunmi Gbadebo from her new series of large-scale works, Systems. In this series, Gbadebo moves away from her traditional grid compositions to push the boundaries of scale and form. Materiality is central to Gbadebo’s work, she employs Black hair, cotton, pigment, indigo, and riso print  to explore various systems of design and their relationship to white supremacy.

Gio Swaby, courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery

Four new works by Gio Swaby, from her series “Another Side to Me” mark the debut of Swaby’s work with the gallery. Four life-scale black women sewn line portraits grapple with the intersection of womanhood and blackness, celebrating the individuality and multi-valent aspects of humanity of Black women that is often unseen. Swaby’s work seeks to underscore joy and resilience while showcasing the beauty in imperfection and individuality as a counterpoint to the often politicized Black body.  Her work is a love letter to Black women: their style, hair, resilience, strength, beauty, individuality and humanity.

Claire Oliver Gallery is located in Central Harlem in a four-story brownstone. The gallery’s exclusive commitment to the primary market promoting significant emerging artists has allowed for an intensive focus that has nurtured and grown the careers of their artists. Many of the gallery’s artists have been included in The Venice Biennale, The Whitney Biennial, and biennales in Sydney, Pittsburgh, and Lyon and have exhibited works in major international museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Center Georges Pompidou, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art amongst others. Claire Oliver Gallery artists are included in the permanent collections of many important museums worldwide including The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Tate Britain, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The State Hermitage Museum and MoMA. Claire Oliver Gallery held the first American exhibition for the Russian collaborative AES+F, whose work went on to twice represent Russia in the Russian pavilion of the Venice Biennale. Gallery artists have received prestigious fellowships including Fulbright, Guggenheim, USArtist and National Endowment for the Arts.

Four Now: New Work by Bisa Butler, Adebunmi Gbadebo, Leonardo Benzant, and Gio Swaby will be on view by appointment from December 1, 2020 to January 9, 2021 at Claire Oliver Gallery, 2288 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, NYC.

Four Now is kicking-off the exhibition with a virtual talk between artist Adebunmi Gbadebo and Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Curator of American Art at the Newark Museum (Tuesday, December 1 at 2pm). Full details Here.