Shadow Matter: The Rhythm of Structure/ Afro-Futurism to Afro-Surrealism
January 19 – August 30, 2015
by Myrtis Bedolla, Founding Director, Galerie Myrtis
Exhibition Location: Charles H. Wright Museum, Detroit, Michigan
Shadow Matter: The Rhythm of Structure/ Afro-Futurism to Afro-Surrealism features sculptures by New York sculptor M. Scott Johnson (Inkster, Michigan, 1968). In parallel with the aesthetic practices of both Afro-Futurism and Afro-Surrealism, Johnson transforms the ancient medium of stone into intricately carved sculptures that fuse African and African-American visual cultures. The work in this exhibition explores his journey in becoming one of the most unique sculptors of his generation.
This mid-career retrospective, traces the trajectory of Johnson’s multifaceted career. His works are rooted in Afro-Diasporan imagination and are inspired by folklore, mythology, revisionist history and his education as a student of Detroit’s techno/house
music universe. As an “artivist,” Scott unabashedly and unapologetically addresses self-perceived notions of classism and race, while harnessing his visual syntax to give voice to the disenfranchised. He has extended performance of sculpture into the social sphere by initiating and developing community-based collaborative public art throughout New York City.
Scott’s education as a sculptor began in 1994, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as a member of Operation Crossroads Africa. While there he studied traditional and contemporary stone sculpting under the tutelage of the local artists who occupied the endless alleyways of the city. At the time Zimbabwe was producing some of the most important stone sculptors in the contemporary art world. His greatest opportunity as a young artist came when he auditioned and was invited to apprentice (1996-1999) with master sculptor and national hero Nicholas Mukomberanwa (1940-2002) in Ruwa, Zimbabwe.
As an Afro-Futurist/Surrealist, Scott embraces the aesthetic mixture of fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies to create new cultural landscapes and reshape old ones. Johnson believes his early embrace of Techno music was a point of departure into the scientific and spiritual practices of the African Diaspora. He also states that growing up in the close-knit community of Inkster provided him with an extremely supportive base of natural allies, willing to help expand his intellectual and artistic horizons.
Charles H. Wright Museum
315 East Warren Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201