Ken Gonzales-Day: Shadowlands is a concise survey of the artist’s career, including works from the Erased Lynchings, Searching for California Hang Trees, and Run Up series. His most recent work draws parallels between historical lynchings and high profile cases of police brutality affecting communities of color today. The core of the Run Up series is a cinematic restaging of the 1920 lynching of Charles Valento. Utilizing details drawn from the coroner’s report and his own archival research, Gonzales-Day chose to focus on this particular event in order to draw attention to the police presence at the scene that tacitly condoned the extralegal violence.
A survey of Gonzales-Day’s work brings up one of his most poignant questions: What is the difference between collective resistance and racially motivated violence? It is a question being asked after recent tragic events in cities around the country, such as Ferguson and Los Angeles, as well as St. Paul and Minneapolis. By presenting historical occurrences in conjunction with contemporary events Gonzales-Day collapses the historical distance and exposes the unchanging reality of racialized violence in the United States. Exploring the dichotomy between presence and absence, Gonzales-Day draws attention to the selective vision of American history and the perception of people of color as expendable. He combines scholarly research and a photo-journalistic sensibility with rich aesthetics to create jarringly haunting portraits of historical trauma present in both the people and the land of the United States.
Shadowlands is curated by Christopher Atkins, Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN
January 19 - April 16, 2017
Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
August 31 - October 29, 2017
Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
November 14 – December 15, 2017