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Jacob Mason-Macklin, Qualeasha Wood, and Cameron Granger.
Jacob Mason-Macklin, Qualeasha Wood, and Cameron Granger.

Studio Museum in Harlem Announces 2021–22 Artists in Residence

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, has announced the three latest participants in its prestigious artist-in-residence program. Filmmaker Cameron Granger, painter Jacob Mason-Macklin, and textile artist Qualeasha Wood will enter the program, which is noted for having elevated the careers of a number of African and Afro-Latinx artists, including Candida Alvarez, Jordan Casteel, Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu, and Mickalene Thomas.

All three of the new artists in residence are under thirty, with Granger and Mason-Macklin hailing from Ohio and Wood coming from New Jersey. Though the trio are comparatively unknown outside intimate art-world circles, all have begun making names for themselves within recent years.

Granger, who grew up in Cleveland and who occasionally collaborates with his mother, investigates memory and communication through works such as The Get Free Telethon, a 24-hour livestream community fundraiser; A library for you, a mobile community library that ultimately traveled to Mumbai; and “Everybody’s got a little light, under the sun,” a project he staged at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, last year. Besides offering a series of film-short screenings, Granger passed out free groceries at locations around the city. “One thing I’ve been confronted with this year is [asking] how I can use my practice in a way that feels less insular, that feels bigger than me?” Granger told Columbus Alive last November. “How can I be more generative? And so one thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is, where do I see gaps? What’s needed?”

A native of Columbus, Mason-Macklin frequently draws on Blaxploitation films predating his birth by decades to make powerful figurative paintings whose vibrant but slightly dulled hues recall the harvest wheat, autumn gold, and avocado tones popular in the 1970s. Mason-Macklin often takes as his subject popular Black figures from that era, such as James Brown or the Soul Train dancers, placing them in the service of his exploration of the Black experience in America, and of enduring Black stereotypes.

Wood, who was born and raised in Long Branch, also investigates Black stereotypes, simultaneously embracing them and pushing them away. “I spent most of my early art practice and young adult life trying to escape from the inherited social constraints of Blackness,” they told the Provincetown Independent earlier this summer. “My perception of what it meant to be Black was always skewed by the notions and stereotypes of what Blackness is supposed to look like and be.” Wood explores these ideas through tufting works—in which yarn is inserted into fabric—that employ often cheerful colors and simple shapes to depict complex situations, such as a recalled near-drowning.

“After five decades of providing institutional support for working artists, developing leading scholarship around their practices, and presenting their work to new audiences, we are able to reflect on and take great pride in how the program has consistently upheld the careers of so many artists of African descent,” said Studio Museum director Thelma Golden.