FACTION Art Projects Announce Solo Show of Harlem Artist Stan Squirewell at Gallery 8, London

FACTION Art Projects is delighted to present a solo show of Harlem-based artist Stan Squirewell at Gallery 8, London. Following an exhibition of Squirewell’s work at FACTION’s Harlem space, the FACTION team bring him to London for a display of multilayered collages which through elements of mythology, sacred geometry and science tackle themes of race and memory. This marks Squirewell’s first solo show outside the US.

Stan Squirewell was born and raised in Washington, DC and currently lives and works in Harlem, New York. His artistic training began at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Since graduating he has continued his tutelage under many of DC’s legends including artists Michael Platt and Lou Stovall.

Squirewell’s newest works which have evolved over two or three years of archival study and exploration are heavily influenced by a recent revelation of his paternal ancestry.

Squirewell says:

‘For most of my life I believed my family were African Americans who had arrived to the US on slave ships, and it wasn’t until my twenties that I discovered my true heritage, that they were indigenous Americans. As a teacher working closely with the national curriculum I constantly see how history, even now, is curated. My art attempts to rewrite these assumed histories. The beauty of the works capture the viewer, but it’s the ugly that intrigues and leads them to look deeper.’

Rediscovering his ancestry has prompted Squirewell to question his identity, particularly in the western hemisphere. It also speaks to his battle with the omnipresent slavery narrative, when he himself comes from a black family that is not believed to have a history of slavery. Through portraiture he challenges histories and presents a more empowering narrative for black identity, seeking to change the terminology around the very word ‘black’.

The portraits have a16th, 17th and 18th century aesthetic with a contemporary awareness. The depicted figures are both real historical figures and fictitious characters that are in some way related to the artist.

Through demonstrating the misrepresentations of history, they critique what we colloquially describe as fact. Each artwork is complete only after he ceremoniously burns both the collage and its hand carved frames which include motifs and markings from ancient indigenous American and African cultures.

The titles of Stan Squirewell’s works reference particular moments in our shared history. One work entitled ‘Willendorf’, is inspired by the prehistoric female figure of ‘Venus of Willendorf’, while another, ‘Amerindian’ refers to the ‘$5 Indians’ – those who, 125 years ago, paid for falsified documents that proved them to be Native American.

FACTION is a flexible collective, from the team behind the hugely successful Gallery 8 and Coates & Scarry in London, who have created a unique model for artists and gallerists to work together.

FACTION addresses the changing market place and the erosion of the traditional art market, where galleries were gatekeepers for artists. FACTION provides artists with promotion and opportunity to access collectors and a wider audience, with all the support of a gallery but without the constraints of the traditional model. They aim to deliver a programme of artists that is diverse and inclusive. FACTION launched in February 2018 at Gallery 8 in Harlem, New York and since then has become strongly imbedded in the Striver’s Row community and a highlight of Harlem’s cultural scene.

Stan Squirewell

1 April – 13 April 2019

Private View, Tuesday 2 April 2019, 6-9pm

FACTION Art Projects @ Gallery 8 London

8 Duke Street St James’s

London SW1Y 6BN