Note: the following is part of Glasstire’s series of short videos, Five-Minute Tours, for which commercial galleries, museums, nonprofits and artist-run spaces across the state of Texas send us video walk-throughs of their current exhibitions. This will continue while the coronavirus situation hinders public access to exhibitions. Let’s get your show in front of an audience.
Joey Brock: In America at Ro2 Art | Downtown, Dallas, TX. Dates: September 26 – October 31, 2020.
The exhibition ‘In America’ was first conceived in 2018 when I was searching for a more fulfilling and meaningful art practice. During my participation in the M. David & Co. artist residency in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I created a self-portrait. Growing up the grandson of a Baptist Minister in small town Texas, I wanted to express how being gay affected my psychological and emotional development. The actualization of authenticity, self-acceptance and self-love had eluded me for fifty years — stemming from my feelings of isolation, lifelong confrontation with prejudice and not assimilating with what society deemed as acceptable.
The thing about our pasts — they will follow us around until we address them and let them go. The genesis of my self-portrait was instrumental in finding my voice and in turn, starting a social practice called the One Portrait Project. All are invited to participate, and to date I have engaged with almost 60 people, from all walks of life, age 24 – 86. The conversation involves asking each person the same questions about their experiences with discrimination, actively giving voice to, and creating a narrative for Americans not often heard. A photo is taken to document the process. I’ve utilized the medium of photography as a vehicle to realize this artistic endeavor to capture real faces and their personal stories.
‘In America’ is a multi-media installation of photography, audio, video, sculpture and photo collage. The title is a direct reference to Robert Frank’s iconoclastic and revolutionary book of photographs ‘The Americans’, which seems more relevant now than ever. The interviews, along with each portrait have been compiled to share now with a broader audience, with the hope of finding greater empathy from exploring identity & challenging our perceptions.