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Introduction

Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA) presents ...three kings weep..., a video installation created by Jamaican-born artist Ebony G. Patterson.

Experience the visuals, sound, and emotion in a large-scale video installation by Ebony G. Patterson. Shown slowly in reverse, Patterson’s film portrays a trilogy of three men, each on a separate screen, dressing themselves while tears quietly roll down their cheeks. Like the triptych paintings often found on the altar pieces at the front of churches built during the Renaissance, these figures occupy a chapel-like space where viewers can sit and contemplate their presence.

The voice of a young boy reading the poem If We Must Die, by Jamaican-born Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay, frames the scene. McKay wrote his poem, published in 1919, following weeks of race riots dubbed the Red Summer, in which hundreds of African Americans were killed during attacks on Black communities in several cities across America. One hundred years later, Patterson reiterates McKay’s words as a soundtrack to her visually arresting work, exposing the continued vulnerability of Black bodies in our present society.

Exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

...three kings weep... - Exhibitions - Tephra ICA
...three kings weep... - Exhibitions - Tephra ICA

… three kings weep …, 2018, Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaican, born 1981), three channel digital color video installation with sound, 8 minutes 34 seconds.
Courtesy of Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Kathleen Boone Samuels Memorial Fund, 2019.240.

Biography

Ebony G. Patterson's multilayered practice in painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and video uses beauty as a tool to address global social and political injustices.

Patterson (b.1981, Kingston, Jamaica) received an MFA degree in Printmaking and Drawing from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University St. Louis (2006) and a BFA in painting from Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica (2004). Patterson has taught at the University of Virginia; Edna Manley College School of Visual and Performing Arts; the University of Kentucky and was the Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her major survey exhibition ...while the dew is still on the roses... opened at Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2018; then toured to Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY (2019); and the Nasher Museum at Duke University, NC (2020). Other notable solo and group exhibitions include Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskills, NY; CARA, New York, NY; ICA San Francisco, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Watershed at ICA, Boston, MA; ICA San Jose, CA; and the 2021 editions of the Liverpool and Athens Biennials. Patterson will present a major site-specific exhibition of sculptural and horticultural installations at the New York Botanical Gardens opening Spring 2023 titled …things come to thrive…in the shedding…in the molding…. In fall of 2023 Patterson’s work was included in A Two Way Mirror: Double Consciousness in Contemporary Glass by Black Artists, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA. In 2022, Patterson was appointed as the first Susan Brennan Co-Artistic Director of Prospect.6, which will take place in Fall 2024.

Her work is in the public collections of The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, IN; the High Museum, GA; SFMOMA, CA; 21c Museum and Foundation, Louisville, KY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, NC; National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; among others. She has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships including the David C. Driskell Prize (2023); Tiffany Foundation Grant (2017), the United States Artist Award, Painter, and Mixed Media Artist (2018) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Art Grant (2015). Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica and Chicago, IL.

...three kings weep... - Exhibitions - Tephra ICA

… three kings weep …, 2018, Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaican, born 1981), three channel digital color video installation with sound, 8 minutes 34 seconds.
Courtesy of Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Kathleen Boone Samuels Memorial Fund, 2019.240.

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