NEW YORK, NY.- Fridman Gallery
opened Within Listening Distance of the Sea..., the first solo exhibition in New York by Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, presenting a new series of paintings, sewn textiles, and a short film made in collaboration with Logan Lynette, Heather Lee and SpiritHouse Inc & Community. The exhibition is accompanied by a digital catalog with an essay by the art historian, curator and author Kilolo Luckett.
The source images in Ambroses large-scale works on fabric are archival photographs of Black women and girls from the early 1900s, which often circulated around the world as postcards. Invariably taken by white male photographers, they were forms of pornography, tools of colonial propaganda and lexicons for gendered, racial, scientific and medical violence defining and evaluating the black female body. They are relics of the power dynamics that continue to live in and across the bodies of Black and Brown women, girls and queer people on every continent impacted by slavery and colonialism today.
Ambroses delicate textiles, gently flowing through the gallery space, revise these images through a lens of protection, care and imaginative storytelling, cloaking the hypervisible/invisible protagonists in layers of fabric, and alluding to the poetry of their dreams, the depth of their experiences, the emotions they may holdtheir grief, reverence, love, wonder. Hued in blues and purples, and veiled with hand-dyed organza, the figures become spirits, free of typecasting and eroticizing, powerful in their fluidity, their ability to elude binary objectification.
Ambrose Rhapsody Murray is a self-taught painter and seamstress who strives to create work that heals, transforms and makes tangible impact for Black and Brown people and communities in the American South and beyond. Ambrose has received numerous grants and awards for her work, including Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Yale CCAM Interdisciplinary Arts Award, Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking Innovation Award, Gordon Grand and Cohen Public Service Fellowships, SpiritHouse Inc. Sankofa Cultural Alchemist Award, and Alternate ROOTS Project Development Award. She received her BA in African-American Studies from Yale College in 2018, concentrating in arts & culture.