"Chakaia Booker: Surface Pressure" at Sarasota Art Museum explores social themes through monumental sculptures
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"Chakaia Booker: Surface Pressure" at Sarasota Art Museum explores social themes through monumental sculptures
Chakaia Booker (American, born 1953), Handle with Care, 2010. Rubber tires, wood, and steel, 34 1/2 x 98 x 11 in. Courtesy of the artist © Chakaia Booker.

SARASOTA, FLA.- Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College of Art and Design invites visitors to explore themes of environmentalism, socioeconomic justice and more in Chakaia Booker: Surface Pressure, on view July 16-Oct. 29. The solo exhibition will feature select prints, paintings and sculpture that span several decades of Booker’s career. “Surface pressure” alludes to the process of making and the physical force the artist exerts to manipulate the materials.

Booker is internationally renowned for using reclaimed materials to create monumental sculptural works that challenge viewers to consider the nature of humans’ relationships to one another and the world. Recycled tires, her most iconic signature materials, communicate themes of diversity, consumerism, industrialization and more. The exhibition at Sarasota Art Museum will highlight four themes: connection, accumulation, transformation and juxtaposition.

“Chakaia Booker: Surface Pressure will acknowledge society’s understanding of the present and the collective work that could result in an ethically responsible future,” said Keidra Daniels Navaroli, Sarasota Art Museum’s guest curator for the show. “Booker uses her work to encourage viewers to formulate their own interpretations, and she aims to present her art as a gateway of new meaning and exchange.”

Booker often presents a complex, layered collection of reconfigured, raw materials. Crossover Effects (2003), composed of recycled tires, showcases Booker’s meticulous and purposeful accumulation of manufactured materials. Handle with Care (2010), also made of recycled tires, illustrates the power of transformation. The treads once used for transportation represent individuals and their life experiences.

The artist communicates juxtaposition through abstract prints that incorporate various surfaces, textures, layers and meanings. Surface Pressure will feature several prints, including an untitled work from 2016 in which she uses chine collé, a meticulous printmaking technique that involves cutting, tearing and layering thin pieces of paper that she fuses. The exhibition will also include Booker’s limited-edition art books that display her attention to scale and form.

“Sarasota Art Museum is committed to presenting boundary-pushing exhibitions that encourage lifelong learning. Chakaia Booker: Surface Pressure advances that goal by inspiring visitors to make connections between the striking works on view and some of the world’s most pressing social issues,” said Virginia Shearer, executive director of Sarasota Art Museum. “Chakaia Booker’s use of reclaimed and recycled materials recalls the history and repurposing of the Museum, which is housed in the historic Sarasota High School.”

Booker gained international acclaim at the 2000 Whitney Biennial with her wall-hung tire sculpture It’s So Hard to Be Green (2000). Her works are held in more than 40 public collections and have been displayed in Europe, Asia, Africa and across the United States in notable locations including Millennium Park (Chicago) and Garment District Alliance Broadway Plazas (New York). She was also featured in the National Museum of Women in the Arts New York Avenue Sculpture Project (Washington, D.C.) and received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005.

“I first worked with the Sarasota community on public art installations in the early 2010s.

I look forward to seeing my sculptures, as well as paintings and prints, return to the region and make their mark at Sarasota Art Museum,” Booker said.

Chakaia Booker: Surface Pressure is organized by the Sarasota Art Museum. Keidra Daniels Navaroli, the guest curator for the exhibition, is the former assistant director and curator of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Tech. She is a McKnight doctoral fellow at the University of Central Florida and a co-author of the upcoming book, This is America: Re- Viewing the Art of The United States, published by Oxford University Press.

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