September 8 – 13, 2021
625 Madison Ave
Cade Tompkins Project | The Weaving of Tales | Booth 1053
Featuring works by :
NAFIS M. WHITE
Cade Tompkins Projects is pleased to present paintings by Bob Dilworth that employ an aesthetic gesture towards moments in history that run parallel to current times; and Oculi sculptures by Nafis M. White, which are akin to portraits laden with DNA, history, love, care, and symbolism.
Bob Dilworth uses painting to tackle issues of race, culture, and ethnicity while depicting family and friends. Equally important are the structural concepts of myths, folktales, and religious beliefs that may be interpreted through metaphors and allegory.
Dilworth examines these constructs through the painting of stories, as in Silvy Tory 2021, a painting of a woman born into slavery who later attained freedom and lived in South County, Rhode Island. Tory has been portrayed by actress Sylvia Ann Soares who modeled for Dilworth’s gradually developing image. There are no pictures of the real Silvy Tory, and there is little written material. It is mostly hearsay that brings the story to us today. Accompanying Silvy on the canvas are portraits of Dilworth’s own son and grandson. With this monumental painting, we can imagine the physical presence of the past, that Dilworth sees as a generational representation in which Tory acts as a spiritual guide.
Nafis M. White, a multi-hyphenate artist, employs various mediums to create her work. Recently, synthetic hair has been a mainstay as she works in the manner of both Victorian hair weaving and Memento Mori creations combined together with African traditions and elaborate symbolic rendering that includes and interrelates to everything from stellar constellations to the patterns of plowed fields.
The largest works in the Oculus series are monumental at 8 feet in diameter and 8 inches in diameter at their smallest. They are majestic and powerful portals. The oculus is present in Medieval churches as vaulted ceilings, and in the Rose Windows in Gothic churches, such as Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Additionally, the Oculus Sacerdotis translates as “priest’s eye” and references the 14th-century book by William Pagula written in 3 volumes between 1320 and 1332 as a manual for the under-educated parish priests.
The Oculi represent a beautiful amalgamation of cultures created through the incorporation of White’s family traditions. She skillfully combines traditional braiding, Senegalese techniques, and English Victorian techniques in individual works. White states, “it is a ritualistic process, a spiritual process, intuitive work with time, tempo, colors, and unique individual identity. It is from love from which the work’s bloom.”