Fo Wilson: Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times

Fo Wilson: Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times

Hyde Park Art Center

Folayemi Wilson, Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times, 2019, at Hyde Park Art Center. Photo: Marc Monaghan.

April 4, 2019
Fo Wilson
Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times
March 31–July 14, 2019
Fo Wilson and Chelsea Frazier in dialogue: April 9, 6–7:30pm
Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago
5020 S Cornell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615
United States
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Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times is a solo exhibition at Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago) by artist and designer, Folayemi (Fo) Wilson that reconsiders the power of objects to create a dynamic atmosphere for reflection, meditation, and healing (on view March 24–July 14, 2019). The Art Center is proud to host Wilson in dialogue with scholar Chelsea Frazier in honor of the exhibition, which brings to life Wilson’s desire “…to infuse love and restore dignity to a culture that is troubled with unfortunate manifestations of fear, hate, greed, shame, and a disregard for others.”

This exhibition of new work combines elements of architecture and integrates visual art, objects, sound, and video. As in some of the artist’s previous work (Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, 2016), the house is a powerful symbol and continues Wilson’s examination of Southern vernacular architecture. In this case, the shotgun house with its origins in West Africa and economy in layout and design, becomes a form that appears as if it landed from outer space incorporating elements that suggest a futuristic, transplanetary Middle Passage and migration through deep space. Original soundscapes placed throughout the gallery are conceived to sound like communications from another world with uncanny references to early jazz recordings, religious chants, political manifestos, and other audial ephemera from classic moments in human liberation.

Frazier, in a scholarship that probes dominant theoretical and disciplinary frameworks to propose the Black feminist ecoethic, pairs eloquently with Wilson’s desire to combine elements of architecture and integrate visuals art, objects, sound, and video to manifest a new world, inherently more in tune with humanity. The dialogue will be followed by a short reception where sips and bites will be served.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and the Host Committee led by Dawoud Bey, John Ellis, Richard Wright and Valerie Carberry. The ceramic artwork included was produced with assistance from the Arts/Industry Program at the John Michael Kohler Art Center.

Dark Matter will be on view at the Art Center’s Gallery 1 from March 24–July 14. For more information on the exhibition and additional programming, please visit

Folayemi Wilson is an artist/designer, educator, independent curator and writer. Her studio practice crosses interdisciplinary boundaries between the visual art, sonic media, a regard for the handmade, a background in design and object making, and an Afrofuturist expression of blackness. Wilson earned a MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago. She was honored as a 2015 3Arts awardee, and received a 2016 Graham Foundation grant. Wilson lectures about art, design and craft to international audiences, and her writing and reviews have appeared in NKA, Journal of Contemporary African Art, the International Review of African American Art (IRAAA), and Communication Arts. Wilson was the 2013-14 Inaugural Faculty Fellow at the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) and has been awarded residencies or fellowships at ACRE, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Djerassi residency program, Haystack Mountain Center for Craft, Kohler Arts/Industry program, Macdowell Colony, and Purchase College/SUNY Purchase New York. She has been a grant recipient of Creative Time, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Propeller Fund, and her design work is included in the collection of The Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design.

Chelsea Mikael Frazier is a writer, cultural studies scholar, and educator working at the intersection of Black feminist theory and environmental thought. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of African American Studies, a Northwestern University Presidential fellow, and a fellow in the Science in Human Culture Program at Northwestern. Chelsea is currently at work on her dissertation—an ecocritical study of contemporary Black women artists, writers, and activists. In her analyses, she probes the ways that dominant theoretical and disciplinary frameworks in environmental studies obscure the legibility of what she calls a Black feminist ecoethic as it manifests in Black women’s environmental writing, visual art, and activism across the African diaspora. Chelsea received her Bachelor of Arts from the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, her Master of Arts from the American Studies program at Purdue University, as well as a Master of Arts from the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University. Her scholarship, teaching, and public speaking span the fields of Black feminist literature and theory, visual culture, ecocriticism and environmentalism, political theory, science and technology studies, and Afrofuturism.

Hyde Park Art Center
Founded in 1939, Hyde Park Art Center is a unique resource that advances contemporary visual art in Chicago by connecting artists and communities across the city’s diverse landscape in unexpected ways. As an open forum for exploring the artistic process, the Art Center fosters creativity through making, learning about, seeing, and discussing art—all under one roof.

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April 4, 2019

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