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Marisa Williamson: Angel of History
University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design
January 28–February 28, 2020

Artist talk + reception: February 7, 6–8:30pm

University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design
Art Building
1915 Chelan Lane
Seattle, Washington 98105
USA

[email protected]

art.washington.edu
Facebook / Instagram
Above: Marisa Williamson, Even ghosts have their ghosts. A shadow follows The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson, 2018. Photo: Gabriella Fuller.
Above: Marisa Williamson, Even ghosts have their ghosts. A shadow follows The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson, 2018. Photo: Gabriella Fuller.
January 28–February 28, 2020

Artist talk + reception: February 7, 6–8:30pm

University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design
Art Building
1915 Chelan Lane
Seattle, Washington 98105
USA

[email protected]

art.washington.edu
Facebook / Instagram

Marisa Williamson, the 2020 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Resident at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design, presents newly commissioned work in the exhibition Angel of History.

In Walter Benjamin’s interpretation of the Paul Klee painting, Angelus Novus (New Angel) in his Theses on the Philosophy of History, he explains Klee’s angel as moving away from something he is fixedly contemplating. Since 2013, Williamson has been fixedly contemplating the life, work, choices, and legacy of Sally Hemings, enslaved mother of four of Thomas Jefferson’s children. This exhibition moves out from that extended contemplation, engaging with questions of monument and memory.

A monument, like a scale, is a tool for weighing and comparing the past to the present. A monument, like a screen or distant figure in profile, is projected onto and animated by the fantasies of others. A monument, once by definition immobile, site-specific, unchangeable, and inert, can now perhaps be a meme, a metaphor, a performance, a reenactment, a temporary intervention—mobile, roving, resistant to dominant histories and hegemonic modes of storytelling.

This exhibition endeavors to show the past, not necessarily "the way it really was" but, as Walter Benjamin describes, "…as it flashes up in a moment of danger." Angel of History looks backward. It awakens the dead in Seattle using a modular and collaborative strategy. Measuring progress, sometimes playfully, the work aims to provide insight not only into how history is understood but how it is felt.

During the month of February, Marisa Williamson will hold a concurrent exhibition, The Runaway, at SOIL Gallery opening on Thursday, February 6, from 6–8pm.

Please tag @jacob.lawrence.gallery, and use the hashtags #MarisaWilliamson (or tag @marisaswilliamson), #JacobLawrenceGallery, and #JacobLawrenceLegacyResidency when tagging the exhibition in social media.

Artist
Marisa Willamson is a project-based artist who works in video, image-making, installation, and performance around themes of history, race, feminism, and technology. She has produced site-specific works at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (2013), Storm King Art Center (2016), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2016), the University of Virginia (2018), SPACES Cleveland (2019), and by commission from Monument Lab, Philadelphia (2017) and the National Park Service (2019).

Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Artpoetica, SOHO20, and BRIC in Brooklyn; The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Mana Contemporary Chicago; Human Resources, Los Angeles; Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato, Italy; and Studio Stefania Miscetti in Rome, Italy.

Williamson has been awarded grants from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. She has been a resident artist at Triangle Arts Association, the Shandaken Project, and ACRE. She was a participant in the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2012 and the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in 2014–2015. Williamson holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from CalArts. She is an Assistant Professor of 4-D Foundations at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford.

Residency
Established in 2015, the Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency invites Black artists at all stages of their careers to have a residency in the gallery during the month of January and to hold an exhibition during the month of February, Black History Month. Previous Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency awardees are HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, Steffani Jemison, C. Davida Ingram, and Danny Giles.

The 2020 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency and Exhibition are made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

About the gallery
Situated in the University of Washington's Art Building, the Jacob Lawrence Gallery is a vital center for social engagement and critical dialogue about the roles of art, art history, and design within the broader context of intellectual life on campus. Through an ambitious and compelling program of contemporary exhibitions, lectures, performances, screenings, and discussions, the gallery is a site of knowledge production and advancing discourses that serves over 8,000 visitors each year.

In 1994, the gallery was dedicated to one of the School's most renowned faculty members, Jacob Lawrence, who taught at the University of Washington from 1970–1985 and served as Professor Emeritus until the end of his life in 2000. The gallery is a tangible, living legacy of Lawrence's exemplary life and practice.

Of the twelve exhibitions presented each year, eight feature student work. In addition to these exhibition opportunities, the gallery hosts an internship program where students learn curatorial methodologies, exhibition design and production, and act as docents for the exhibitions on view.

In 2018, the gallery became a W.A.G.E. Certified Institution in recognition of its ongoing commitment to equitable compensation for artists and writers.

About the school
The School of Art + Art History + Design is the center for creative innovation and study at the University of Washington, one of the world's leading public research institutions. The School's focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of new practices enhances both studio and classroom learning as well as fostering dynamic engagement and critical discourse. Our students are inspired to learn through a rigorous and creative academic experience, competitive internships, and international opportunities. Learning from influential faculty, alumni, visiting artists, designers, and scholars, students of our undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs investigate and create in an environment of possibility.

January 23, 2020

location

University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design, Seattle