Installation view:'This whole time I've been seeing the same shit I had seen in my dreams', 2022 by Oshay Green
Sept 24 - Nov 12, 2022
With great excitement, we welcome Oshay Green to Winnipeg for a solo presentation of new in-situ works.
Green is a self-taught artist, self-taught welder, and self-taught sound designer hailing from Dallas, TX. This penchant for self-reliance is different from the one oriented toward a solipsistic outlook. Rather, it precipitates from the place of scarcity, practicality, and precarity within the context of social and economic marginality. This disposition to be self-reliant is an integral part of how Green approaches art making. He depends on the environment, makes use of what's available given limited resources, or finds a new potential within the leftovers; the scraps. Over the past month, he has been living in the city and engaging in a residency of sorts, which is culminating in this exhibition.
Typical of his practice, Green’s work uses carefully selected materials with a lapsed use or a previous life including discarded fabric, samples of sound, scraps of metal, along with any accompanying debris that comes with the found material. And using an improvisational hand, the artist assembles these cast-off odds and ends either by welding, reshaping, or merely through spatial positioning. All the while, he leverages the possibilities of generating a new successive life for these humble common items even if within the temporary space of an exhibition. This project has been an interesting challenge and a rewarding means of experimentation for the artist. Through a continuous process of trial and error, composing and re-composing, he gradually discovered the work and its trajectory. What the viewer experiences through this exhibition are a combination of sculptures with minimal interventions, fabric works, dust, sculptures that double as sound-producing instruments, and prominently, his sound composition which is every bit as tactile.
Green, to his surprise, has observed the close similarities between Dallas and Winnipeg: from the city's sprawl, identical time zones, to the surrounding prairie grasslands to the mosquitos and bugs that flare up in the humid summer. Another endemic aspect he learned through his research is the widely used methamphetamine drug that has especially wreaked havoc on the already vulnerable and marginalized populations of both cities. It is a fact that is especially pertinent to the artist as members of his own family have been tangled in its grip. The ongoing dependence on these stimulant drugs is a grave manifestation of communities afflicted with perpetual pain. Pain that needs painkillers even if momentarily. This pain is inherited, aggregated, and reaches far back to generations before them. Metal is a material used amply throughout Green's creations in this exhibition. It is material with significant economic currency for many of these same communities at the social and economic fringes. The metal used in the exhibition was scrapped by Green through the few scrapped yards that allowed it or found on the side of the street, dumpster or donated. The pieces that weren't used are left outside the back of the gallery, an area where drug paraphernalia such as used needles are often left. We think of the possibilities of these leftover scraps for others who might need them as a source of income. At the end of the exhibition run,
Green's sculptures will be returned to donors and the rest left out for the taking.
Leaning on his family and his own experiences of upcycling and making do as a survival mechanism, Green finds intersections between the marginalized communities he is familiar with in Dallas and the ones here on Treaty One. He closely considers what it means to create out of a primal necessity in order to survive. Although the works in the exhibition are, by and large, formal exercises they aren’t purged of or in opposition to the contexts that give them form. They are every bit as embodied as they are open-ended abstract forms.
Like the physical objects in this exhibition, the show’s title is also an off-the-cuff found material which Green captured from someone he struck up a conversation with while roaming through the city: This whole time I've been seeing the same shit I had seen in my dreams.
This is the first time Green is exhibiting in the country. His work has previously been circulated through the Dallas Museum of Art, AND NOW in Dallas and Nasher Sculpture Centre. He creates sound recording work using archival material under the moniker Malik Pope.
Special thanks to Mark Pieterson for introducing Green to the gallery. You can read Pieterson's detailed conversation with the artist via the affiliate publication, Public Parking.