“My name is not Susan,” Sojourner Truth Parsons’ second solo exhibition at Foxy Production, conjures twilight zones where light strikes bodies and objects. The artist’s acrylic and collage paintings portray liminal spaces, times, and feelings—between inside and outside, day and night, love and fear—where windows are portals to other dimensions. Metallic blues in low-light harbor mystery and sublimation, where negative space and—as the exhibition’s title suggests—the proclamation of whom one is not, may be more fitting than voicing whom one is.
The artist’s experience of isolation during the COVID era—both in her studio and on her night-time walks observing a depopulated city—is a central metaphor of the new paintings, inflecting them with feelings of exile and autonomy. Parsons presents moments in the near dark, where some stories are slowly revealed, while others remain elusive.
Gender and race are intuitively immersed in many of the works: black female silhouettes contrast with blocks of color or emerge from blackness, contrasting with hard-edged fields of single colors. Parsons’ work is neither directly autobiographical nor narrative in form: it strives for a sense of intimacy, where the boundary between interior and exterior worlds collapses and felt experience is recognized. The artist works to strike a balance between openness and obscurity in a mix of illusion, desire, and pain: “It is my hope that, through the process of rendering these scenes, critical truths can be glimpsed and a provocative sense of wholeness can emerge.”
Sojourner Truth Parsons (Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1984) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, NS, Canada.
Solo exhibitions include: “Milk river,” Various Small Fires, Seoul, South Korea; “Sex and love with a psychologist,” Foxy Production, New York, NY (both 2020); “Holding Your Dog At Night,” Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON, Canada; “Dolphin, take me with you,” Downs & Ross, New York, NY (both 2017); “Crying in California,” Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and “Heartbeats Accelerating,” Tomorrow, New York, NY (both 2016). Recent group exhibitions include: “The New Bend,” curated by Legacy Russell, Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY (2022); “l’Invitation au voyage,” Esther Schipper, Berlin, Germany (2021); “This is America,” Kunstraum Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany; “Springweather and people,” Bortolami, New York, NY (both 2021); ”This Sacred Vessel (PT. 1),” Arsenal Contemporary, New York, NY; and “Staying alive,” Lyles and King, New York, NY (both 2020).
Photography: Charles Benton.