Opalka Gallery is pleased to announce Shifting Gaze: A Reconstruction of the Black & Hispanic Body in Contemporary Art from the collection of Dr. Robert B. Feldman. A traveling exhibition that originated at the Mennello Museum in Orlando, Florida, this exhibition will be on view at Opalka Gallery from October 22 through December 14, 2021. The 26 internationally recognized artists in the exhibition draw upon art history, American history, and popular culture to create powerful works that, independently and collectively, present a broad range of concepts about identity, beauty, belonging, and religion, as well as work with deep gravitas around issues of race, sexuality, violence, displacement, vulnerability, erasure, and visibility.
“In ways both poignant and celebratory, and in disparate styles and media, the artists in this exhibition center the body, representation, and identity in their work. We’re thrilled to be able to share Dr. Feldman’s collection and these important artists with our community,” Opalka Director Judie Gilmore said.
The title Shifting Gaze is evocative and an emblematic reference to art history and the critical social agency of our current times. Through various media, such as painting, sculpture, drawing, and collage, the Black and Hispanic body (physical and metaphoric) is implied or materializes with subtlety in some instances, beautifully unfolds in others, and in a few, is direct, dramatic, and heartbreaking. The symbolic framework of the Shifting Gaze helps generate a larger dialogue among the works on view and the specificities of a diverse African and Hispanic diaspora in our current physical, social, and political landscape, as revealed through each artist’s personal experience and distinctive aesthetics. The “Shifting Gaze”—who is looking at who—engages perception, seeing, and objectification, while “Reconstruction” represents a new articulation and possible new constructs via a new voice, from the past and projected into a resonant now.
“The artists in Shifting Gaze are powerfully breaking boundaries in the conversation about identity and culture in America—especially through the lens of seeing the body and that body having agency,” says Dr. Feldman. “I am inspired by their work and vision and honored to support them as critical artists at the forefront of important dialogues in our culture.”
A full-color exhibition catalog was produced on the occasion of the exhibition and includes an essay by Mennello Museum of Art Executive Director and Shifting Gaze curator Shannon Fitzgerald and an interview with Dr. Feldman by Katherine Navarro, Associate Curator of Education, Mennello Museum of American Art. A limited number will be for sale in the gallery.