Since the early 1990s, Gary Simmons has brandished the act of erasure as a means to visualize race and the history of its representation and misrepresentation. To employ this technique, the artist would first draw on a chalkboard, then smear the image, leaving faded traces of the drawing surrounded by chalky, gestural streaks. Although these marks seemed violent, the image refused to disappear.
In his six large, mixed-media works at Regen Projects (all works 2017), Simmons built on his early chalkboard drawings, utilizing the formal aftereffects of erasureforceful blurringin the service of text-based compositions. The text in this series includes both the names of African American screen stars and the titles of the early motion pictures in which they appeared. In Law of the Jungle, the largest canvas in the show, the names of Hattie McDaniel and Bill Robinson are rendered
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