Coming from a background in marketing, Dexter Wimberly isn’t afraid of a hard sell. Since moving to the art world as an independent curator, Wimberly has worked to discover and promote talent that is breaking new ground. Endlessly seeking out new names, the curator admits, “Not a week goes by that I don’t talk to an artist that I didn’t know last week.” So when the chance came to curate an entirely abstract show at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, Wimberly took the challenge and started searching.
While MoCADA has been operating for 14 years, most shows have focused explicitly on the theme of diaspora, typically with a historical component. Wimberly’s previous two exhibitions for the museum, The Box that Rocks and The Gentrification of Brooklyn, kept in line with that theme. For Pattern Recognition, Wimberly “wanted to do something that was a departure from what MoCADA usually did.” Part of that wish involved focusing on abstract artists that work outside of the mainstream. Bringing together Rushern Baker IV, Kimberly Becoat, Hugo McCloud, Duhirwe Rushemeza and Sam Vernon, the curator was able to find ideological and aesthetic patterns in contemporary abstraction.
Each of the artists are young and emerging, part of a diminishing class that opts for non-representational work. For the show, Wimberly sought artists who were brave, multidisciplinary and distinct in their approach. While the messaging is subtle, each name finds room for a theme, ranging from consumer culture to racial history. Collectively, the group proves that simple variations of color, material and light can be profound.
Of the group, McCloud stands out as a self-taught artist who explores the textures of waste and the urban environment. His large-scale wall pieces present a striking mosaic of patinas. Restricted to found materials and focused on a combination of pure texture and color, the artist nevertheless creates surfaces that have an almost whimsical quality to them.
The show comes hot on the heels of a successful $50,000 fundraising campaign for MoCADA on Kickstarter, signaling a bright future for the contemporary museum. Pattern Recognition runs from 18 July through 6 October 2013 at MoCADA on 80 Hanson Place in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. There will also be an artist talk on 25 July from 6-8PM.