Private View Tuesday, November 24, 2014, 6-8pm
Stephen Friedman Gallery
Stephen Friedman Gallery presents the first UK solo exhibition of Melvin Edwards. Spanning five decades, the exhibition brings together a body of work including large and small-scale sculptures, drawings and a site-specific installation.
The exhibition features a large-scale sculptural installation made from barbed wire and conceived in the 1960s. Realized at the Gallery for the first time, its many strands cascade from the ceiling and create a single plane anchored to the wall in a circular configuration. Sharing an affinity with other conceptual minimalist installations of the 1960s, Edwards' choice of barbed wire as material imbues this sculpture with social and political meaning.
Edwards' best known sculptural series, Lynch Fragments, makes up a significant part of this exhibition. They cover three distinct periods in his personal history; the 1960s, where they evolved out of Edwards' response to racial violence in America; the 1970s, out of his protest against the Vietnam War; and from 1978 to the present, where they became a vehicle to honor individuals, to explore nostalgia, and to investigate his interest in African culture.
The exhibition also includes a number of kinetic Rockers. Inspired by the memory of his grandmother Coco sitting in her rocking chair, they vary in shape, scale and configuration. Level, a small work, articulates the tension and struggle epitomized in Edwards' art; an open, linear pair of C-shapes is linked by twisting tangles of barbed wire. Like all Edwards' sculptures, the Rockers are welded together in compositions of visual and structural energy. The exhibition concludes with a room dedicated to Edwards' drawings.