'Alisa Sikelianos-Carter: In Space and Splendor: A Topography of Wildness' at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
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'Alisa Sikelianos-Carter: In Space and Splendor: A Topography of Wildness' at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
Artwork by Alisa Sikelianos-Carter.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA.- The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art recently commenced In Space and Splendor: A Topography of Wildness, a solo exhibition by mixed media painter Alisa Sikelianos-Carter. On view in the Museum’s Gray Wing November the exhibition will explore unconditional, ancestral, and ancient Blackness, through large installations of works on paper and small sculptures.

The queer poet Dinos Christianos, ostracized from the Greek literary community, famously penned the quote, “they buried us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” This idea of resilience, infinitude, and creating a magical place where Black people exist fully in liberation is at the root of Sikelianos-Carter’s expansive practice. Sikelianos-Carter’s work responds directly to the violence against people of color, accessing new levels of survival, protection, and abundance. Committed to exploration, this new body of work presented at SLOMA builds on her recent Crown series, a collection of abstract prints utilizing web and catalogue-sourced imagery of Black hair that represents ancestral beings — creating what Sikelianos-Carter calls a “divine technology.” At SLOMA, Sikelianos-Carter removes the limitation of the small print sizes, allowing her abstract shapes to spread onto the walls, creating an immersive world that cultivates a feeling of expansive infinity, of taking over.

In this new body of work, Sikelianos-Carter moves distinctly away from the figure, leaning into abstraction to create her magical worlds. Inspired by geography and geology— land, sea, and sky— Sikelianos-Carter envisions a world where ostracized communities take up boundless and unlimited space. Throughout the gallery, on the floor, Sikelianos-Carter places small, grainy, rock forms that resemble the surfaces of planets, re-emphasizing an other-worldly environment —a celestially divine land of freedom. Intricately layered with texture and glitter, the installation reminisces relief sculpture that consumes the whole wall, changing with each angle. Sikelianos- Carter’s work asserts that Black features are a manifestation of a sacred and divine technology that has served as a means of survival, both physically and metaphysically. She envisions a cosmically bountiful world that celebrates and pays homage to ancestral majesty, power, and aesthetics.

Accompanying the exhibition is an off-site installation at Hotel San Luis Obispo, including two large-scale prints from the Crown series and small new works on paper mounted directly on the wall.

Sikelianos-Carter earned her MA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY Albany and is an MFA Candidate at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. In 2021, she was awarded the inaugural fellowship at Foreland, a six-month studio residency in the Catskills conferred biennially on an outstanding artist of color. Recent exhibitions of her work include Stars are Born in Darkness, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; Parallax: Framing the Cosmos, Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, A Spell is a Map to What is Meant for You, Fridman Gallery, Beacon, NY; Un/Common Proximity, James Cohan, New York, NY. Sikelianos-Carter was featured in New American Paintings, No. 146, Northeast Issue, and received the Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant in 2020. She has been awarded residencies at Art Omi, Ghent, NY; Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL; Golden Foundation Arts Residency, New Berlin; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA; Millay Arts, Austerlitz, NY; NXTHVN, New Haven, CT; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY and Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY.

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
In Space and Splendor: A Topography of Wildness
November 18th, 2023 – March 10th, 2024

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