James Fuentes Online is pleased to present Jamaal Peterman, Tales from the Hood.
Jamaal Peterman decodes and deconstructs the representation of bodies as they become polarized within urban environments. Engaging techniques of abstraction, Peterman uses flattened form and color to dictate the immediacy of this experience, and of the systems that consistently stigmatize and categorize certain people as bodies on a daily basis. Peterman’s newest works on paper are based on the visual logic of an All-points Bulletin (APB). An APB is a broadcast issued by law enforcement to its personnel and to other agencies, typically containing a visual description of a suspect. In the US, the term dates to at least 1947, although the system was created by slave patrols of the Antebellum South. The APB system allows officers to use tactics such as Stop-and-frisk upon civilians. With rising societal awareness of brutality, mistaken identity, and home invasions being orchestrated by law enforcement, Peterman felt it was necessary to explore racial profiling and the impact of the human cognitive response when describing suspects for an APB.
Peterman set out to capture the notion of “What You See Is What You See”. Through this construction, Peterman breaks down the visual elements that inform an APB, pressing at its translatability. Combining flatly painted areas with textured zones using sand and crystals, Peterman engages this process of categorization while also pointing to the nature of scale that informs it. Here, the bodies of people are visually reduced to geometric color and form within a limited rectangular frame. By focusing in on these details, within each work Peterman creates a singular instance that points to the occurrences every day in which black and brown bodies are placed into categories, whereby no reference other than skin color, hair, and clothing might be applied. Thus, these works reflect, “What They See Is What They See’': a flattened color and form, subjected to racial injustice within a long history of predisposed cognitive brutality. In this series, the title of each work informs its contents, collapsing the cognitive processes involved in an APB within the moment of reading the artwork.
Jamaal Peterman (b. 1990, Fort Lauderdale, FL; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) received his BFA from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (2014) and his MFA at Pratt Institute (2019). Peterman has presented work in numerous solo and group exhibitions within the US. Most recently, he undertook residencies at MASS MoCA, Wassaic Project Residency, and Fountainhead Residency. His work is in the collection of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, as well as private collections.
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