Color Coded: Gene A’Hern, Patrick Alston, Matthew Eguavoen, Nate Lewis, Alexis McGrigg, Gabriel Mills, José Yaque, Anoushka Mirchandani, A’Driane Nieves, Tariku Shiferaw

29 April - 28 May 2023
Color is not real. Despite our extraordinary experience of color perception, all colors are mere illusions, in the sense that, although people normally think that objects appear colored because they are colored, this belief is mistaken. It is the purview of the skilled artist to harness the illusion of color to create meaningful work. Artists invented the first pigments—a combination of soil, animal fat, burnt charcoal, and chalk—as early as 40,000 years ago, creating a basic palette of five colors: red, yellow, brown, black, and white. Since then, the history of color has been one of perpetual discovery, whether through exploration or scientific advancement. However, color is not a physical property of an object - it is a sensation, just like smell or taste. Neither objects nor lights are colored, but colors are the result of neural processes. Paradoxically, color can affect our mood, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
If color is in fact an illusion, how do we assess our relationship with visual art? What are the things happening beyond our mind’s ability to process? What is coded beyond our perception? Through figuration and abstraction, the ten artists in Color Coded push the possibilities of color as a tool to stimulate our imagination and challenge our visual senses.
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Gene A’Hern (b. 1993 in Australia) is an artist based in New South Wales, Australia. At the core of his practice is a deep engagement with drawing. Gestural marks are made with a combination of processes revealing an eruption of recognizable elements from his everyday landscape: mountain peaks, rain, sky, and bushland. Oscillating between abstraction and landscape, portrait and still life painting, A’Hern’s work is arbitrarily engaged in modernist painting yet looks inward to echo a unique pictorial language, as depth and movement reveal a lyrical illustration of place. 
Patrick Alston (b. 1991 in New York) energetically creates works that, along with the interplay of titles, trigger thought-provoking and reflective topics including but not limited to socio-politics, identity, language, and the psychology of color. Alston’s re-contextualized subjects, rich palettes and complex compositions are dramatized exhilarating energies, expressed through gestural mark making that help to project an unwritten aesthetic that makes up the urban landscape.
Matthew Eguavoen (b. 1988 in Nigeria) depicts his figurative and portrait subjects using a combination of oil paint, acrylic paint, charcoal, and graphite pencils to document stories that encompass the emotions and demeanor of his muse to the viewer of his work. Eguavoen uses his work to address the societal, economic, and political views across the complex intersectionality that Nigerians face in different facets of life. 
Nate Lewis (b. 1985 in Pennsylvania, US) is recognized for his intricate works on paper, which combine elements of photography, printmaking, sculpture, and drawing. Lewis sculpts patterns and textures akin to cellular tissue and topography. Rather than serving as a medium, the paper is transformed into the subject. This transformation is especially pronounced in Lewis’s abstract paper “quilts”, which are reminiscent of East-Asian painting scrolls. Handmade from pulp, they are microcosms of fundamental life forces – water, pressure, matter, and chance.
Alexis McGrigg (b. 1989 in Mississippi, US) uses celestial space as a metaphor for the autonomy of Blackness, redefining its agency as a fixed idea or way of being and leaning into its fluidity and ability to be more complex than we allow ourselves to understand. With this in mind, on a larger scale, It – Blackness, having its foundation in the body and the black experience, has the ability to manifest as an intangible space that releases its dependence on the physical body. Through her paintings, she seeks to allow the viewer a wider perspective of the vastness of our existence. 
Gabriel Mills (b. 1992, New Rochelle, NY) is an American artist, who’s paintings hold space for contemplation about time, recognition, and presence. A versatile array of painting methods are demonstrated throughout his practice, serving as an adequate platform to explore the complexities of experience and sensation. Mills begins with thick broad layers of paint that he then refines into shorter gestures and precise color arrangements, resulting in topographical surfaces that balance texture and atmosphere.
Anoushka Mirchandani (b. 1988, Pune, IN) is an Indian-born, San Francisco-based artist. Her practice examines her experience as an Indian, Immigrant, Other, Woman. Mirchandani’s work probes ancestry, personal history, cultural and sociopolitical environments through a diasporic lens, exploring the micro-tensions and identity transformations that are part and parcel of code-switching and assimilation in a foreign land. For Mirchandani, the spaces, transparencies, opaque shapes, limbs, and forms in each painting are a reminder of all the multifaceted parts of ourselves, both the vulnerable, and the impenetrable.
A’Driane Nieves (b. 1982 in Texas, US) gives visible shape to the internal biological and emotional processes of adaptation, recovery, healing, and transformation. Nieves' work allows her to carve out—and take up—space where the fullness of her humanity as a Black, queer, neurodivergent woman can be expressed without retribution. It is her hope that holding space in her work for expressing her fullest self encourages others to do the same. 
Tariku Shiferaw (b. 1983 in Ethiopia) is known for his practice of mark-making that explores the metaphysical ideas of painting and societal structures. This formal language of geometric abstraction is executed through densely layering material to create “marks,” gestures that interrogate space-making and reference the hierarchy of systems. As the artist explains, “A mark, as physical and present as cave-markings… reveals the thinker behind the gesture—an evidence of prior markings of ideas and self onto the space.” 
José  Yaque (b. 1985 in Cuba) is a contemporary artist working across several mediums including painting, installation, art object, drawing, among other art forms. Through his multidisciplinary practice, he explores the relationship between man and nature. Not only does he refer to nature as that which is organic, but everything that surrounds and accompanies the human; everything from the sky to the earth’s center. 
About the curator: 
Dexter Wimberly is an American curator based in Japan who has organized exhibitions in galleries and institutions around the world including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, The Green Family Art Foundation in Dallas, KOKI Arts in Tokyo, and The Third Line in Dubai. His exhibitions have been reviewed and featured in publications including The New York Times and Artforum; and have received support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and The Kinkade Family Foundation. Wimberly is a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art, and the founder and director of the Hayama Artist Residency in Japan. He is also the co-founder and CEO of the online education platform, CreativeStudy.