Virtual Remains

Virtual Remains

2021 Atlanta Biennial


February 20, 2021 – August 1, 2021

Since its inception in 1985 and revival in 2016, the exhibition has addressed the deep vernacular traditions at work in the art of the Southeast. The 2021 Atlanta Biennial does this while simultaneously confronting the social issues caused by COVID-19, racism, inequality, and the essential role artists play in our understanding this moment and movement.

Offering fertile ground for speculation, experimentation, and failure, Atlanta Contemporary’s Project Spaces are a departure from the traditional white cube. Virtual Remains bridges marginal and unconventional spaces to examine how contemporary artists are experimenting with technology to contend with flawed and fragmented archives. Danielle Deadwyler, Shane Dedman, Adam Forrester, and Artemus Jenkins are Atlanta-based artists who embrace the flaws and gather the fragments to create works of art that tell personal and communal histories in innovative and intuitive ways. Each artist tends to their own interdisciplinary repositories of ephemera — documents, film, and audio— that they then redact, manipulate, and fabricate to uncover the truths that lack material evidence.

Deadwyler offers a multimedia installation that incorporates performance, video, and sculpture to intervene on the histories of the Atlanta railway corridor by unearthing the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the Black laborers who worked to construct it. Dedman debuts a trilogy of experimental films that contemplate loss of one’s personal archive as a rite of passage or as tragedy. Forrester’s installation involves a documentary film and a collage of archival and fabricated documents that blur the boundaries between truth and lies. Jenkins presents a series of videos that rely on his process and experience as a filmmaker to speculate on the future of memorialization when the most critical remains are digital.

The works presented in Virtual Remains are malleable and evolving accumulations of the artists’ continuous labor, introspection, research, and engagement with their communities. Exacerbating the tensions between memory and history, truth and myth, the exhibition privileges the experiential to simulate what feels most true, instead of literal truths. Together, the artists engage in a non-linear, fragmented, and inconclusive conversation on absence, memory, and the fidelity of technology.

Virtual Remains
Curated by TK Smith
Located in Project Spaces

Danielle Deadwyler
Born Atlanta, GA
Lives Atlanta, GA

Shane Dedman
Born Palm Beach, FL
Lives Atlanta, GA

Adam Forrester
Born Columbus, GA
Lives Atlanta, GA

Artemus Jenkins
Born Baltimore, MD
Lives Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Contemporary publicly announced the curators, Dr. Jordan Amirkhani (Main Galleries) and TK Smith (Project Spaces) in February of 2020 one month prior to the mandated shelter-in-place announcements throughout the country. Though the intent to commission new work by artists from around our city and region remain, both curators quickly recognized their challenge in navigating the anxiety, grief, and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic and how best to elucidate these collective sentiments.

In keeping with the long-established vision of the Atlanta Biennial, Dr. Amirkhani states: “'this exhibition invites the weight of these cultural murmurations to seep and sow against the range of material and conceptual methods of response available to artists in 2020 ... for what is at stake in this exhibition is whether or not representations can provide adequate responses to the fluctuating conditions and complexities of life lived in the United States.”

All studio visits occurred via Zoom with walk-throughs of the galleries accomplished over Facetime. In short, this was not business as usual. Yet, at the core of this work, the artists, curators, and staff endure the emotional, mental, and physical oppression of this time. We can all agree: the future is uncertain yet as TK Smith promises: “[this exhibition] leaves viewers with new ways of understanding and coping with the ephemerality of material life.”

Art is essential.

Featured Images

IMAGE #1: Artemus Jenkins, Free Wifi (2020). Courtesy of Artist.
IMAGE #2: Shane Dedman, still from Physical Body of Work, Part I is titled, Amnesia (2020). Courtesy of Artist.
IMAGE #3: Adam Forrester, Capitol (Failed Nation), 2018. Courtesy of Artist.
IMAGE# 4: Danielle Deadwyler, FOR(E)RUNNER, 2020-2021. Courtesy of Artist

Bios

Adam Forrester

Adam Forrester is a multimedia artist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker. His current project involves an interdisciplinary and multimedia exploration of the small town of Phenix City, Alabama. Forrester’s films have been screened at several film festivals, including the Oxford Film Festival in 2020, the Landlocked Film Festival in 2015, DOC NYC in 2019, and the Indie Grits Film Festival in 2016, 2019, and 2020. His films have been recognized with multiple awards, including the Reel South SHORT Award in 2020 from the Sidewalk Film Festival and the Seed & Spark Award in 2016 from the Atlanta Film Festival. Forrester had a 2020 solo exhibition, Archive(d) at whitespace Gallery in Atlanta and has exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably at the Historic Center of Kalamata in Greece, Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery in Poland, Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, and Soap Factory in Minneapolis. He was awarded grants from Idea Capital in 2017, The Rural Project Fellowship Grant in 2019, and the Southern Documentary Fund in 2018, as well as multiple residencies, including The Creatives Project in 2018 and Wassaic Residency Program in 2014. Forrester received an MFA from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia and a BSc from Columbus State University.

Artemus Jenkins

Artemus Jenkins is a photographer and filmmaker. The Baltimore native has lived in Atlanta for thirteen years, using the documentary format to innovatively capture the lives of local artists from marginalized communities and their use of art to craft new realities. They have created several short and full-length films, such as broken stories (2017) and several docuseries, such as Color Outside the Lines (2012), a groundbreaking documentary depicting the work and lives of Black tattoo artists across the globe. Recently Jenkin’s documentary work was featured in an award-winning music video by recording artist H.E.R. Jenkins’ work has been included in several group exhibitions, including Drive Thru ATL in 2020 with The Creatives Project, Art of Atlanta in 2019 at Wish Gallery, and the City of Ink 10th Anniversary Group Exhibition in 2017 at City of Ink Gallery. They were awarded the Best Documentary Award from Creative Loafing in 2016 and a residency at The Creatives Project from 2020 to 2022. In addition to artmaking, they have worked as a producer, consultant, and digital content strategist. Jenkins received their BS in sales and marketing from Tuskegee University.

Danielle Deadwyler

Danielle Deadwyler is a congregation of artistic personas and firebrand talent. Her sophisticated spunk and ingenuity is reflected on stages, screens, and pages. The Atlanta native’s artistry is rooted in theatre, dance, and creative writing. Nurtured at hometown staples such as Gate City Heritage House, Total Dance Theatre, Gary Harrison Studios, Atlanta Street Theatre, Henry W. Grady High, and Spelman College, Deadwyler’s skills have been honed almost wholly amongst a distinctly Southern landscape. As a professional actor, Deadwyler has performed in productions with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre and the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. She is the Creative Loafing Atlanta Critics Pick for Best Actress (2013) and Reader’s Pick for Best Performance Artist (2017). 2015 found her the winning recipient of the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a play. As a budding filmmaker and producer, Deadwyler’s first short film Brummagem (2011) was listed as a semi-finalist in the first annual Creative Loafing Atlanta shorts contest. Her video, Do Not Resuscitate, was a WonderRoot Local Film night finalist (2013), while the short video for her multimedia project MuhfuckaNeva(Luvd)Uhs: Real Live Girl was the Jury award winner (2015). She also starred in and produced the American Black Film Festival 2014 HBO Shorts Official Selection Ir/Reconcilable, a short film starring Jasmine Guy, Dick Gregory and Crystal Fox. Her short film, SuPerHeRoInUh, was selected amongst ten finalists as a part of the Airport Shorts 3.0 program, coinciding with the Atlanta Film Festival 40th anniversary, to screen at Hartsfield Jackson Airport in the International Terminal for the duration of a year.
As poet and performance artist, Deadwyler is an observer/practitioner of all things hiphop culture and gender-centric. Her video/performance works have been included in MAMBU BADU collective’s exhibition If We Came From Nowhere Here, Why Can’t We Go Somewhere There? (D.C.), Mint Gallery (ATL), Whitespace Gallery (ATL), The Luminary (STL), Atlanta Film Festival, among others. She has been supported by grants from IDEA CAPITAL (2014), ELEVATE Atlanta, and was the 2016 Living Walls Inaugural Laura Calle grant winner. She is an Atlanta Film Festival Filmmaker-in-Residence and a WonderRoot Walthall Fellow.

Shane Dedman

Shane Dedman is a video-based artist, educator, and writer. Their interdisciplinary practice is concerned with divergent selfdom and the translation of trauma into material through critical investigations of new media and the archive. Dedman’s video works have been screened at local film festivals, such as LadyFest in 2015 and Out on Film in 2019, as well as live streamed on Facebook Live and at the virtual NOFLASH Film Festival in 2020. Dedman had a 2018 solo exhibition, Fidgette: Watercolor Improvisations at Mammal Gallery in Atlanta and has participated in several group exhibitions, including I’m Looking Forward to Tomorrow in 2020 at Good News Arts in High Springs, Mass Hysteria in 2018 at The Bakery in Atlanta, and The Gathering in 2018 at WonderRoot in Atlanta. His words have been published in Oz Magazine, Wussy Magazine, Analog Cookbook, and the online journal fLoromancy. They were awarded the Barb Seegert Memorial Grant in 2018, as well as residencies at Welcome Hill Studios in New Hampshire, The Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture in Metaxata, Greece, Joshua Tree Highlands in Joshua Tree, and TAR Project in Atlanta. In addition to artmaking, they have worked as an arts educator in juvenile detention centers in Georgia, and as an art handler across the South East. Dedman received their BFA in Photography from Georgia State University.

Location

Gallery 6, Chute Space, Secret Garden, Sliver Space gallery map


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