February 16, 2022

Dana DeGiulio: Live or Die / Brandon Ndife: Down to the Spoons and Forks

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University

Left: Dana DeGiulio: Live or Die, 2022, installation view. Right:  Brandon Ndife: Down to the Spoons and Forks, 2022, installation view. Courtesy Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University. Photos: Dario Lasagni.

The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at the Center for the Arts is delighted to present two concurrent solo exhibitions: Dana DeGiulio: Live or Die and Brandon Ndife: Down to the Spoons and Forks. Both exhibitions include in-person events featuring the artists.

Dana DeGiulio: Live or Die
This exhibition of recent work presents almost 50 paintings from the last year or so, the result of Dana DeGiulio’s continued focus on iterative still-life painting and genre trouble that began in 2013. Each object in the show was made in a single day, and they are installed here to respond to the particular architecture of the gallery.

“Heidegger calls the subject ‘the bearer of predicates,’ but then Gwendolyn Brooks called art a broken window. Laughter, wrote Kant, is just violence becoming nothing, and joy is something else. They’re flower paintings, you’re right, and then some others.” —Dana DeGiulio

Dana DeGiulio is a painter whose project pits action and materiality against image. Her work in video, drawing, installation, painting, writing and teaching is about edges and touch and attention, and tries to ask the means what the ends are. The work has appeared in the New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, artforum, Contemporary Art Daily, Mousse, Erev Rav, Chicago Art Writers and other publications. In 2019, her book Nefertiti for the Blind was released by Attendant. Dana has been an itinerant professor of visual art for the last 13 years and currently teaches at NYU, Columbia University, and SAIC. She works at home in Brooklyn next to the window.

Related program
Public deinstall with the artist: Sunday, March 6, 4:30pm EST in the Gallery.

View or download the exhibition handout, including an essay by curator Benjamin Chaffee and checklist.

Brandon Ndife: Down to the Spoons and Forks
Built domestic objects are combined with organic matter in these newly created sculptures by Brandon Ndife. Additively-composed of castings that appear as assemblages of found objects, Ndife refers to the work as “code switching” rather than a trompe l’oeil, the French term for “deceiving the eye” in paintings that create perspectival illusionism. Code-switching suggests that the object is shifting linguistically, registering differently for audiences, and performing legibility in various, sometimes overlapping contexts. The coincidence of multiple texts, especially when doubling, creates the conditions for the allegorical, for one text to be read through another. The vegetable matter and furniture in Ndife’s sculptures appear in states of decay but when read as ruinous speculative remnants they ask to have their multiple meanings disentangled from the material and melancholic aesthetics of history.

Brandon Ndife (b. 1991 Hammond, Indiana lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) received a BFA from The Cooper Union and an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Solo and two-person exhibitions include: MY ZONE, Bureau, New York, 2020; Minor twin worlds with Diane Severin Nguyen, Bureau, New York, 2019; Ties That Bind, Shoot the Lobster, New York, 2018; Just Passin’ Thru, Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, 2016; Meanderthal, Species, Atlanta, 2016. Group exhibitions include New Museum Triennial: Soft Water Hard Stone, New Museum, New York, 2021; Cascadence, Altman Siegel, San Francisco, 2021; Winterfest, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2021; Material Conditions, Matthew Brown Gallery, Los Angeles, 2020; Fixing the “not... but”, LC Queisser, Tbilisi, 2019. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, New York, 2022. Write-ups of his work have been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Interview Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Mousse Magazine and Flash Art.

Related program
Artist talk: Tuesday, February 22, 6pm EST in the Gallery. Dialogue with Anthony Ryan Hatch, Associate Professor of Science in Society, Wesleyan University.

View or download the exhibition handout, including an essay by curator Benjamin Chaffee and checklist.

Gallery hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 12–5pm. Both exhibitions are curated by Benjamin Chaffee. Exhibition management by Rosemary Lennox and art installation by Paul Theriault. Follow the Gallery on Instagram for exhibition and programming updates.

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