Markel Uriu: New Work, Alexander Keyes, ‘Conversations with Gee’s Bend,’ and more

La leçon d’amour, 2008 © Mickalene Thomas.
July 5–28

Markel Uriu: New Work

Last year interdisciplinary artist Markel Uriu sprinkled Method gallery’s floor with hundreds of gold-leafed leaves. She regularly uses moss, plants and leaves to weave tapestries and carpets of sorts. Uriu also regularly gathers lunaria (or “honesty”) plants in the city, sewing them into an unending tapestry. At SOIL, the artist will further explore nature’s symbolic qualities with a large-scale installation in which regional and global invasive species such as Himalayan blackberry, skins from starlings and European rabbits become physical and symbolical manifestations of globalization and colonialism.


SOIL Gallery

Through July 28

Alexander Keyes: the unutterable hideousness that can dwell in absolute silence and barren immensity

Quite the mouthful, the title of this show by multimedia artist Alexander Keyes. The snippet comes from H.P. Lovecraft’s 1917 short story “Dagon,” in which the narrator describes the “slimy expanse of hellish black mire” he finds himself in after his cargo ship is captured. As a child, reading these and other stories by Lovecraft, Poe and Melville deeply affected Keyes’ ideas about the vastness and horror of the sea, and perhaps life itself. Though dealing with this beautifully daunting idea, Keyes’ installations are slicker than you’d expect.


Method Gallery

Through Sept. 3

Conversations with Gee’s Bend

In Amy Sherald’s painting of former First Lady Michelle Obama, Obama’s flowing dress dominates nearly half the canvas, its pattern inspired by the quilts of Gee’s Bend. For generations on that Alabama peninsula, African American women have created abstract quilts for both practical and artistic purposes. Long seen as craft rather than art, the quilts now tour the world, recognized for both their poetic power and their cultural influence. At SJIMA, some of these quilts will hang together with works by artists they inspired.


San Juan Islands Museum of Art

July 14–Sept. 30

MUSE: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête

The muses of Mickalene Thomas take up space in a way we now call “unapologetic.” Before the word became fashionable, Thomas made, as she still does, a literal space for herself, her mother, lovers and friends within the frames of her famous faux-modernist, bedazzled multimedia collages. Lesser known are her intricately staged photos and the influence of photography on her work at large, a never-ending question of who frames what and how. This exciting show premieres an overview of Thomas’ photography and the photos that inspired her.


Henry Art Gallery