What has become indispensable to my works is the push to construct my studio practice into one that is spontaneous, experimental and collaborative. I work to dissolve the boundaries between myself as art maker in relation to the passerby, the potential participant, the viewer and the various landscapes I engage with.
Idyllic, rural, urban and suburban landscapes play essential roles in my photographs which are developing into two bodies of work. The first body uses the vernacular of the African American combined with the habits of the female construct as springboards to work from. These images are portraits and self portraits that explore the subjective position of a non- fixed and multiple identity. The works are designed to use the toolbox of the urban black vernacular in diverse landscapes moving the figures away from their traditional, intended environments into landscapes that may oppose or complicate them. My photographs are constructed to delve into the terms related to the constructs of Black, African, Afro American, identity, landscape, aesthetics and participation. I am working to understand how these words and ideas translate visually, how I can interpret them, what devices keep them loaded and how to engage them in unexpected, engaging ways.
Xaviera Simmons (Brooklyn, NY) completed her BFA at Bard College in 2004, after she spent two years retracing the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist Monks. In 2005 she participated in The Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program and was the 2005-2006 Workspace Artist at The Jamaica Center For Arts and Learning and received the VKP artist/educator award from The New Museum. In 2006 she was commissioned by Art In General to create a site specific, 6 month installation/ performance. She has participated in numerous exhibitions at The Studio Museum In Harlem, including Frequency as well as in Passionate Attitudes, here at CPW. In 2007 Simmons exhibited photographs and created installations at Zacheta National Gallery (Warsaw, Poland), The Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (Santa Barbara, CA), The Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, TX), the Queens Museum (Queens, NY), Interpreting Utopia at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, and at Platform Garanti, in Istanbul, Turkey. Most recently, Xaviera is the recipient of a 2008 In The Public Realm commission from The Public Art Fund. Simmons was an Artist-In-Residence at CPW in 2006.