Reflections on Identity

Ronchini Gallery, London, opens a new exhibition featuring the works of seminal American artist, Tameka Jenean Norris (b. 1979). Cut From the Same Cloth is a multi-disciplinary show that explores the internal drives and external influences that shape identity. Through installation, video, performance, photography and painting, the artist is interested in reflecting back onto society the contemporary social issues which surround the individual – for her the appropriation of black culture and being female.

In this new and exciting show – the second at Ronchini – Norris is the agent of her own creation. Rationalising the world through experience, she brings to light the portraits of a world in which she grew up. Her paintings, for example, depict the communities which exist in the Mississippi Gulf Coast, gathered through archive photographs from Facebook and the wider internet search. She notes: “I am trying to get closer to them by attempting to create some level of intimacy. Part of the work is about starting conversations with my family or reconciling some rift between us. I hope to give a voice and rehumanise some folks within my family who have been dehumanised by society.” Although abstracted in their style, these pieces being to piece together the tapestry that Norris is trying to construct: one that can join together and remedy the marginalisations of the contemporary world.

Alongside this, the artist presents fabric works and an installation of a large woven braid, continuing the theme of found materials – a sense of collective archive – which she creates in her wider oeuvre. In this way, Norris is braiding together parts of humanity and parts of her life with her audience, as the work is simultaneously a standalone item and has come into being by her inspiration.

Whilst tackling these wider issues, Norris attempts to do so with an original, innovative and tongue-in-cheek manner. One example of this lies in her feature length film How She Got Good (2015) in which “Meka Jean”, her autobiographical persona, mimic the sexualised characters of music videos and the stereotypes which they encourage.

Cut From the Same Cloth runs from 25 November until 21 January at Ronchini Gallery, London. Find out more: 

1. Tameka Jenean Norris Wash N Dry (2015). Courtesy of Ronchini.