July 1 – August 14, 2021
Alexander Gray Associates presented Subliminal Horizons, an exhibition curated by Alvin Hall as an open-ended survey of Black, indigenous, brown, and Asian artists living and working in the Hudson Valley in New York.
BIPOC creators and their predecessors have always been present in the Hudson Valley. They numbered among its original inhabitants and labored in its agrarian and industrial economies. They have been a force in the countercultural and creative communities that have historically been drawn to the area and are now driving its ongoing transformation into an arts-driven economy. Nonetheless, their work has largely been left out of a cultural narrative that historically gives primacy to the nearly all-white, all-male Hudson River School. Bringing together painting, sculptures, and drawings by an intergenerational group of BIPOC artists living and working in Hudson Valley, Subliminal Horizons invites a fluid, open-ended consideration of the area’s cultural life oriented towards an expanded field and a more complete context.
Rather than presenting a purely critical thesis, the exhibition offers a point of departure for this expanded field. The artists and the works on view are connected by loosely recurring art historical themes such as the contrast between the sublime, realist landscapes of the Hudson River School and the figuration, interiority, textuality, or abstraction of much contemporary work; and by the possibilities for community and collectivity embedded in their shared geography. “I’ve looked at the Hudson River and the surrounding landscape so many times during train rides. The metaphor of the estuary—a body of water that flows in multiple directions—resonates in the works,” says Alvin Hall. “One can locate the covering and uncovering of personal and social histories; a blurring of distinction between the representational and the abstract; the conflicts of the documented and imaginary; and a tension among traditions, modernism, and contemporary art’s growing pluralism in the diverse works in the exhibition.”
A necessarily incomplete intervention, Subliminal Horizons is an exercise in building community, shifting narratives, and reframing dialogue. Generous rather than exclusive, responsive rather than prescriptive, the exhibition aims to strengthen and extend community ties by uncovering existing histories, affinities, and artistic connections. Collectively, the artists and their works speak to the many ways the Hudson Valley is today an important magnet for artistic expression, intellectual pursuit, and emotional expansion.
Henri Paul Broyard
Lisa Corinne Davis
Lyle Ashton Harris
Jennie C. Jones