Artists Marcus Jahmal and Chris Martin join Rail Publisher and Artistic Director Phong H. Bui for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Molly McGlennen.
Born in 1990, Marcus Jahmal lives and works in New York. He was raised in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood, growing up in a family with roots in the West Indies and American south. His paintings synthesize a range of inspirations, drawing from photographs, ancient rituals, and personal memories. Developing his compositions directly upon the surface of each canvas, Jahmal coaxes imaginary, yet uncannily familiar scenes, exploring dreams and folkloric Americana, and the realities of gentrification and city dwelling. Jahmal has exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His inaugural monograph, Solid Ghosts,was published in 2018, and he has a recent solo exhibition at the Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, in Brest, France.
Contemporary American abstract painter Chris Martin’s wide range of material and imagery is drawn from Buddhist mandalas, the landscapes of the Catskills, and the legacy of Abstract Expressionism. Martin’s works attempt to deal with the psychological internalizations of spirituality and memory, using formalism in a way similar to both Alfred Jensen and Thomas Nozkowski. The artist regularly incorporates unconventional materials into his work, such as textiles, glitter, and vinyl records, as evidenced in Sweet Dreams (2nd Pillow Painting) (2009), a canvas where six affixed pillows are covered in bright neon paint. Martin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Artist, writer, and independent curator Phong H. Bui is Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail, the River Rail, Rail Editions, and Rail Curatorial Projects. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Curatorial Advisor at MoMA PS1.
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The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poem, and on this day we were fortunate to have Molly McGlennen reading.
Poet Molly McGlennen, born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is of Anishinaabe and European descent. She is an Associate Professor of English and Native American Studies and Director of the American Studies Program at Vassar College. She earned a PhD in Native American Studies from University of California, Davis and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. McGlennen is author of Fried Fish and Flour Biscuits, published by Salt’s Earthworks Series of Indigenous writers; Our Bearings, published by the University of Arizona’s Sun Tracks series; and the monograph Creative Alliances: The Transnational Designs of Indigenous Women’s Poetry from the University of Oklahoma Press, which earned the Beatrice Medicine Award for outstanding scholarship in American Indian Literature.
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