Rowe Gallery is pleased to host my sun is black as the glowing sea by night, an exhibition featuring new work by Johannes Barfield. The work was commissioned by UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture Director of Galleries, Adam N. Justice, with curation and creative direction by Justin Smith, founder/curator of Afrovisualism, and will be on view January 10-February 25. Barfield will give an artist talk in Rowe Arts on Friday, January 14, at 11:00 am.
my sun is black as the glowing sea by night is an immersive image-based installation that boasts a blaring bass-heavy soundtrack influenced by world-building science-fiction films, Marvel comics, children's books, and Griot storytelling. my sun is black tells the story of yahya, a little boy who gets lost and wanders into a museum, where he encounters a rip in the space-time continuum. Yahya walks into the portal and is transported into the bodies of alternate versions of himself.
“What if I told you that blackness is not a void or a vacuum and that it is not devoid of matter or empty but in fact it is EVERYTHING. What if I told you the sun had died 40 years ago and that light travels at the SPEED of our PERCEPTION. What if I told you I was once a little boy who got lost and wandered into a museum and found GOD and MONSTERS. What if I told you the sea was a portal to return us all HOME.”
“There exists no freedom from me, there is only freedom through me” - Apocalypse
Johannes Barfield is an American sample-based visual artist who works in installation, video, photography, mixed-media, and sound. His work explores childhood memories, joy, appropriation as a means for survival, the repatriation of artifacts, objecthood, extinction, and the music played at family cookouts.
A native of Winston-Salem, Barfield resides now in New Mexico. He received an MFA in Photography and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and a BFA in New Media and Design from UNC Greensboro. He has received multiple awards, fellowships, and residencies, including the 2020 Mint Museum Atrium Health “Best in Show” award, Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship (Chicago, 2018), Merriweather District AIR (Columbia, MD, 2020), Fine Arts Work Center visual artist fellowship (Provincetown, MA, 2020), Lighthouse Works Fellowship (Fisher Island, NY, 2019), ACRE residency (Steuben, WI, 2018), MASS MoCA residency (North Adams, MA, 2018), and a VCU “10 Under 10” award that recognizes noteworthy and distinct achievements made by VCU alumni.
Barfield will concurrently be showing work in a group exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Reckoning and Resilience: North Carolina Art Now will be on view January 13-July 10.
Justin Smith is a graphic designer, curator, researcher, and writer from Richmond, Virginia. He is the founder and curator of Afrovisualism, his brand, platform, and practice on Black Visual Culture in which he contextualizes the advancement of Black creative expression. Through his immersive research practice of “crate-digging,” he theorizes the sampling and study of Black aesthetic continuums.