Screen Reader Guide - Kenturah Davis: Dark Illumination

Moving counter-clockwise through the gallery, the first artwork on your right is planar vessel XVI

1. planar vessel XVI, 2023
debossed text, carbon pencil on ceramic tile
21.75" x 29"
A portrait is rendered on 12 connected matte off-white ceramic tiles. The tiles are debossed with text, and then the figure is sketched in blurred graphite on top of the text. In the sections of the portrait where the graphite is dense, the text is legible. In the sections where there is no graphite, it is barely legible. The text is a small font, and only readable when you approach the tiles closely. The figure is looking directly at the viewer. The figure has long hair. Both the face and the hair are obscured slightly with a blur. The figure is wearing a collared shirt, with two necklines blurring into each other. 

The next artwork, In Praise of Shadows, is a few feet to the left of planar vessel XVI on the same wall. 

2. In Praise of Shadows, 2019
oil paint applied with rubber stamp letters on chine-colle with color ground, on paper
29" x 20"
A framed portrait of a figure rendered in black, white and gray tones. The figure is looking up to the right, with a neutral and slightly expectant expression. The figure has curly hair, sectioned slightly by a headwrap. When you look closely, you can see that the portrait is composed of individually rubber stamped letters. The letters overlap with different densities to create various shades of light gray to black. The figure is on a gray background, with a light grid pattern visible.

Continuing counter-clockwise in the gallery, the next artwork is set up on a shelf on the wall adjacent to the first wall. 

3. artist book
fugitive ink photogram, debossed text on kozo
9" x 9"
A book of 18 accordion-style square pages is fanned out. Each square is covered in colored ink that bleeds in splotches, streaks, and spots. Each square is a different color, including magenta, mustard yellow, green, navy blue, and purple. When you look more closely, you can see that each page is imprinted with debossed text in a sans serif font that is barely visible. The front and back covers of the book are black and a wrinkly paper texture. In the center of the front cover is Kenturah Davis' gold debossed signature. 

The next two artworks are on the wall opposite the first wall. 

4. Embodiment I (moving study), 2020
video installation (vertical)
6-minute loop
43" monitor

5. Fall and Recover - Dunham, 2021
video installation (horizontal)
15-minute loop
43" monitor
Two video monitors are side by side on the wall. They are inset into the wall, giving the effect that you are looking through a window. One video is horizontal, the other is vertical. Through the “windows”, you see the artist’s hands at work, as if it is pressed up against glass. Kenturah’s hands create shadows that stretch across the window. In both videos, the artist is rendering figures by writing text in pencil. It takes a few minutes to be able to see what the artist is drawing. On the left hand video, the figure emerges as a person in motion. We see the back of their head, and their hair is mid air as if they are turning their head to the left. Their left arm is outstretched, gesturing away from their body. On the right hand video, the figure emerges as a portrait in profile. The figure is looking straight ahead, out of the right side of the frame.

Following this wall, the first room then leads into a larger gallery with walls that are painted a sandy, clay color. Upon entering the larger gallery, there is a wall that bisects the gallery, which is the multi-media installation, dark illumination I

6. dark illumination I, 2023
multi-media sensory installation
A large wall (24 feet long, 2 feet thick) bisects the gallery. The wall has cut outs and shelves with various objects that cast different shadows. The first feature is a rectangular window with a paper screen behind it. Centered in the window in front of the paper screen is an irregularly shaped, sand-colored round ceramic vase holding a floral arrangement of eucalyptus and dried palm leaves. To the left of the rectangular window is 35 ceramic pieces, each 2-3 inches long, in round, organic shapes like lines, curves and circles. They stick out from the wall and on their own are illegible. They are illuminated by a light, and their shadows spell out DARK ILLUMINATION. Above the lettering, there is a circular window. In the middle of the wall, there is an arched doorway that you can walk through. To the left of the doorway is an angled rectangular box shelf close to the floor. On top of this shelf rests a sand-colored, disc-like moon jar, textured with small pieces of clay. Around the corner of the wall, there is a rectangular inset box housing a wooden Rubin face vase illuminated from behind with a warm white light. This installation creates an optical illusion for some viewers, in which they alternate between seeing a vase and a two faces in profile. On the other side of the wall, there is a semi-circle shelf lit from above with five vessels: a circular ceramic vase in the center, and two cups for incense on either side.

The last work is installed on the parallel wall and spans 14.5 feet. 

7. planar vessel XV, 2023
debossed text, carbon pencil on ceramic tile
4.2 feet high x 14.5 feet wide
A series of four realistic, blurred portraits of the same person is rendered across a wide landscape stretch of sand-colored ceramic tiles. There are 168 tiles total, each individual tile is a seven-inch square and placed side by side to create the completed piece. The figure is depicted moving across the background in four distinct positions. The figure is wearing a beanie and t-shirt, we see them from the waist up. Their expression is calm, in some depictions they are lightly smiling. The pencil marks highlight text debossed in the ceramic tiles. The text is a small font, and only readable when you approach the tiles closely. Each tile has its own stand alone text. Legible excerpts include original writing by the artists as well as quotes from Fred Moten, toni morrison and Carlo Rovelli. The wall behind the tiles is painted an almost identical color.