Simone Leigh

Simone Leigh’s work combines forms that appear at once archaic and futuristic, organic and industrial, earthy and otherworldly. Her ceramic and mixed media sculptures draw on the visual vocabulary of modernist abstraction while employing the forms and techniques of traditional African pottery—from which modernism itself borrowed. Leigh’s work is also indebted to feminist art of the 1970s: the rolled-up bud forms that populate the front of the sculpture No Face, for example, recall the tiny vulvar sculptures that Hannah Wilke once fashioned for her Starification Object Series of 1974. Retracing “lost” aesthetic and historical genealogies, her work nonetheless evokes objects from a future time and place. The wall-bound Brooch #2 holds dozens of ceramic pieces cast from plantains—for Leigh, a symbol of the post-colonial—in its metal clamps, evoking both jewelry and weaponry, beauty and brutality.

Leigh’s video Uhura I re-edits an episode of the original Star Trek series, removing all content except for the brief moments when Lieutenant Uhura (a female character of African descent) appears and speaks. Leigh extents Uhura's modest screen time to fill the length of the entire episode. The piece hearkens back to the time Leigh spent watching Star Trek as a child, waiting patiently for Uhura's arrival.