Kenturah Davis’ work oscillates between various facets of portraiture and design. Using text as a point of departure, the artist explores the role that language has in shaping how we understand ourselves and the world around us. Fundamental to Davis' interest is a manner of approaching portraiture as a vessel capable of carrying and projecting meaning. Rather than painting images, however, the artist writes them to inscribe the histories that entangle us. Layering text to the point of illegibility signals the complexities of how we absorb and embody ideas conveyed through language. Understanding that language interferes, as much as it aids us in shaping our perceptions, Davis follows the path of the written line to a woven one to further an investigation outside of figuration.
Reconfiguring both personal and collective fragmented memories, Heidi Lau’s vessels reimagine symbolic artifacts and zoomorphic ruins as materialization of the archaic and the invisible. In the process, she reenacts the non-linearity and materiality of the past, molding a tactile connection to the disappearing, impossible identity of home. Taoist mythology, folk superstitions, and Macau's colonial history provide essential source material for her exploration of transcendental homelessness, displacement, and nostalgia as the condition of contemporary existence.
Over the past two decades, Vincent Valdez has created images which serve as a testimony of what he bears witness to—a reflection on a people's ordeal and our elusive salvation. In Valdez’ continuation of portraiture, he monumentalizes the everyday man, and nameless figures, through intricately painted portraits. Valdez’ subjects are framed by personal experiences and an examination of contemporary life in twenty-first century America. Distorted social realities such as economic and racial inequality, conflict, hyper-nationalism, sanctioned violence, and other systemic patterns that historically serve as prelude for democratic decay compel the artist to reflect on his social environment.