Diedrick Brackens
6/5/2021 - 9/5/2021

Drawing on global textile and weaving traditions, Diedrick Brackens (American, born 1989) creates intricate tapestries that interrogate personal stories and shared cultural realities. Formally rooted in postwar American art movements, Brackens’s compositions fuse the language of abstraction with narrative-driven representation. Working primarily with cotton, the artist pays homage to “those who came before” him, including his own grandmother, who worked as a cotton picker during her childhood.

Brackens approaches weaving with a collage sensibility, piecing together photographs of his models, self-portraits, images taken from the Internet, and snapshots from family photo albums. Through this idiosyncratic lexicon, Brackens mines his family’s history and their multigenerational hometown in East Texas, while also exploring his unique identity. The artist explains, “I see the world through the Black, queer lens, and that is the space from which I create and the set of experiences I hope to amplify.” This impulse undergirds a body of work Brackens produced in early 2020 that considers how minority communities in America have been disproportionately impacted by the AIDS epidemic, the country’s most enduring health crisis. Unveiled just as the world was coming to terms with the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, these prescient weavings do not dwell on illness but rather look to the spiritual, celestial, and corporeal powers that shape the human experience.

A Riley Contemporary Artists Project (CAP) Gallery exhibition, supported by Douglas County, Catherine & Terry Ferguson, and Sara Foxley.

What's Pictured: Diedrick Brackens (American, born 1989), blessed are the mosquitoes, 2020, woven cotton and acrylic yarn, 82 x 79 inches. © Diedrick Brackens. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles.