The Ties That Bind, Bend, Break
12 October 2016

Brett Charles Seiler, “Dear Zimbabwe, I’m Sorry I’m Gay”

The Ties That Bind, Bend, Break
Jarrett Key and Brett Charles Seiler
October 16 – November 19, 2016
Opening: October 16, 7-9pm
On view Saturdays 12-6pm and By Appointment

Jarrett Key and Brett Charles Seiler are towing their personal, racial, sexual and political histories from the related social topographies of the American South, Zimbabwe, and South Africa to Secret Dungeon to build a symphony of resistance. They are building an expansive and expressive bulwark against the encroachment of oppression, marginalization, racially and sexually motivated colonization of the very sense of community and the practical, physical space where that community manifests. These two artists, though separated by continents and united through coincidence, make a practice of rejecting, deconstructing, and defusing the variations on apartheid culture that insidiously mutate to infect new social, cultural, and economic zones while remaining endemic in their originating locations.

The vectors of this infection are mirrors of a destabilizing fear. Nodes of communication and dissemination of information have exploded over the past 30 years into a fog of micro-nodes. Apartheid culture has seemingly gone airborne in this particulate structure of power and information; growing ever more insidious and rising in concentration with nationalist rhetoric sweeping the globe.

Through a push back, a celebration of individual value in expressive effort, these two artists reject the cancer of global fear in favor of the agency of feeling and desire; of a personhood rooted in learned skepticism of the institutions of power coupled to a simmering desire for, and belief in, better.

If the virus is a mirror of that tawdry fear of lost colonial power, Brett and Jarrett’s practices are lenses acting to invert the realities of that virus by projecting the righteous human value of the oppressed. From Key’s Slave Ship to Seiler’s Dear Zimbabwe, I Am Sorry I Am Gay, these artists lay claim to their histories, to their rights, and to the sweet significance of their very existence despite the instruments of ignorance, bigotry, and fear that seek their oppression and destruction.

Brett Charles Seiler (Cape Town, South Africa; b. 1994, Zimbabwe):
Brett Charles Seiler’s work is influenced by existential philosophy, futility, melancholia, punishment and travel. With the use of interventions, performances, repetition, sculpture, and de-skilling of traditional practice, Seiler provides statements that highlight notions of directionlessness, confronting typical traditional expectations of art-making and political subjects. Seiler’s artwork deals with loss and mourning, by using specific materials to convey messages, meanings and ideas. Working with text is that of conceptual intent, seeing language as failure and misleading, Seiler uses statements blurring the lines of authenticity and translation. Although subtle, Seiler’s work deals greatly with political issues; homophobia and immigration.

Jarrett Key (Brooklyn, NY; b. 1990, Seale, AL):
Born and raised in Seale, AL, Jarrett Key is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist, who investigates the relationship between traditional visual art and performance practices by integrating movement, music, and heightened language. Jarrett’s creative pursuits have led to performances and exhibitions in NYC, Brooklyn, Boston and Shanghai. He is currently the Assistant to the Associate Producer at The Public Theater and the Producing Director of Codify Art, a multidisciplinary collective of queer artists of color. He is also a member artist with the Harlem Arts Festival. Jarrett is a graduate of Brown University, where he studied Public Policy and Theater Arts.


Jarrett Key “Hair Painting”