Welancora Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Chanel Kennebrew. This most recent body of work demonstrates Kennebrew’s expert ability to stylize and compose an image in order to tell a story and bring awareness to an issue. The exhibition will be on view from June 10 to August 13, 2017 at 33 Herkimer Street.
This series by Chanel Kennebrew is a cunning exploration of shattering, revealing, exposing, questioning and colliding for the sake of creation. The work seeks to investigate the realities and possibilities of technology, of modern communication and ideas of representation. #ElectricRainbowDaydreams is a collection of vibrant imagery composed and stylized by an artist in a constant state of making. Kennebrew is a multi-disciplinary, commercial, graphic design and fine artist. Each craft has a role in her work. The essence of this series is that of a socio-cultural, political meditation channeling the pensive and the carefree. It’s a creative exegesis of color, playful objects and the spirit of joy.
The technological surge of the 21st century has awarded us the means to share and communicate in ways only science fiction could have previously imagined. Kennebrew engages this phenomenon by superimposing electronic objects such as stereos, televisions and recorders with human body parts and figures. The bodies are carefree; in motion, leaping, dancing and jumping. With sharp wit, Kennebrew incorporates glops and splashes of paint in the steps of these figures to indicate the looming hazard our electronic tools impart on communication. She questions the impact of the sleek and well-advanced smartphone that bundles all past electronics into one. This new mode of communication and its applications, especially regarding social media has forever transformed human engagement. These devices and ‘apps’ have replaced or obstructed our view of each other and have also deteriorated and enmired actual connecting and understanding.
The rainbow of color in Kennebrew’s work, acts as both a signature and visual guide. It serves as a strategic marker for viewers to focus attention on specific elements of her compositions. The color, be it dripping down the picture plane or sprayed in the background, triggers an emotional response. With her sculpture, she paints and assembles fun vintage objects and toys of the same or similar color, creating a cohesive composition. The objects are transformed by color but maintain their integrity as cool, play things from a nostalgic past.
Fantasy and imagining animate this series. Layers of color and texture distort time and space. Bodies are in motion, inhabiting impossible spheres. Singular mouths grip rotary telephones, upside-down, bodiless heads blossom into a spectrum of vivid balloons. Beautiful brown girls tower over incredible landscapes. Past, present and future merge in a distorted but tangible daydream. Each piece, whether whispering or booming, a unique but unified message to ‘stay woke’, to pay attention to each other beyond our digital selves. The work warns us to connect with integrity and intention, to be wary of the potential haphazard messiness of our new technology.
#ElectricRainbowDaydream is a lesson and a celebration. The series invokes the passion of the artist but also aims to connect her questions and experiences to that of the viewer. It harbors joy and wonderment in concert with a subtle warning. It’s loud with color; it’s a remix, a throwback, but also a guide. It expresses fortitude and a genuine interest in the politics of freedom. This series reminds us to recall and retain the spirit of our authentic voice. – Daricia Mia DeMarr