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Denzil Forrester, LITTLE SHAKA, 1985, oil on board, 46 1/2 × 30 1/4".

Denzil Forrester

White Columns

Denzil Forrester, LITTLE SHAKA, 1985, oil on board, 46 1/2 × 30 1/4".

I have an enduring memory of an early-1990s set by legendary dub reggae DJ Jah Shaka at the North London club the Rocket that garnered the performer all the more respect for his stubborn reliance on a single turntable: no hyperactive cutting and scratching here. Shaka’s simple, unhurried approach signaled absolute confidence in a perfect selection of tracks, the effect of which was immediate and immersive. The aural space that dub establishes through the use of echo, reverb, and other effects—Claude Debussy’s oft-quoted line about music residing in the space between the notes is nowhere more applicable—is reflected too in Grenada-born artist Denzil Forrester’s paintings and drawings of performances by Shaka and others.

This belated first American airing of Forrester’s work from the early ’80s—cocurated by White Columns director Matthew Higgs with Scottish painter

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