Dalton Gata, Cece Philips
Portrait for Loneliness
Using bold and vivid colors Dalton Gata imbues his canvases with an energy that draws on the vibrancy of Caribbean visual culture. Although visually rich, Portrait for Loneliness addresses the motif of the passport photo – a constrictive genre of image, one which classifies and segregates individuals based on nationality and presumed birthright. Through this motif Gata considers the parallel realities of privilege and marginalization that are embedded in such forms of official identification.
In answer to this, Gata accentuates the unusual or eccentric features of his sitters. They wear extraordinary costumes, or are elaborately made-up with colorfully shadowed eyes and painted lips, effectively subverting the government sanctioned criteria that determine not only the visual qualities of a passport photo, but a person’s right to citizenship.
The uniqueness of Gata’s painted figures addresses the mounting instability of our times, as well the experiences of migrant communities in the Caribbean and elsewhere. His work recognizes the myriad and fluid expressions of gender and sexual identity in Caribbean culture, while also celebrating the racial diversity in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Gata pulls this spirit of celebration together with a subversion of the standard passport photo in order to propose expansive and queer forms of self expression, self-actualization and acceptance.
The Night has a Thousand Eyes
The Night has a Thousand Eyes, is Cece Philips (b.1996 in London, UK) first exhibition with Peres Projects at the Berlin gallery. Cece Philips is a storyteller. In The Night has a Thousand Eyes her paintings describe a curious, darkening cosmopolis where space, gender-roles and racial dynamics are reimagined. A city of women who sit, lean and drink in office-cum-homes, the depths of their emotional worlds concealed. As Philips reveals to us the activities of this strange blue metropolis, we discover a place that is uncomfortably close to home. Inspired by Edward Hopper, Philips looks at the story of modernity, but through a feminist lens. She transplants women, primarily women of colour, into a masculinised metropolis, pointing to the exclusion of certain behaviours and identities from these spaces and the enduring homogeneity that exists within the corporate sphere. Having grown up in London and worked in advertising, she understands more than many the enduring destructive dynamics that permeate these spaces.
Drawing from symbolist painter Alphonse Osbert’s depictions of ‘the blue hour’, Philips´ works are drenched in a blue hue characteristic of the last moments of sunlight before night – a time when our senses can deceive us, and imagination and reality entwine. With Philips, this fragile hour becomes a metaphor for transformation, a time to seek safety or to venture out into the mystery of the night.
To further build her narratives, Philips collaborated with playwright, Lucy McIlgorm, on an accompanying booklet including poetry, prose and dialogues between characters.
Dalton Gata, Portrait of Loneliness
Cece Philips, The Night has a Thousand Eyes
Peres Projects, Berlin
October 15 – November 112022
All images and texts are courtesy of Peres Project