february, 2019

5feb6:00 pm- 9:00 pmLaylah Ali The Acephalous SeriesOpening Reception


Event Details

Laylah Ali
The Acephalous Series
January 29 – March 16
Opening Reception: Tuesday, February 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Goucher College is pleased to welcome to its campus the 2018-19 Nancy G. Unobskey Visiting Artist in Modern and Contemporary Art, Laylah Ali. The Unobskey Fund brings internationally recognized artists to Goucher’s campus and provides students with meaningful and significant access to the fellows via exhibitions, studio visits, and lectures.

On the occasion of her fellowship, the Silber Gallery will present The Acephalous Series, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Baltimore, MD.

Widely known for her iconic series, the Greenheads, which was the subject of a traveling museum exhibition from 2012-13, Ali explores power dynamics and interpersonal conflict through compositions that position culturally and sexually ambiguous figures in precarious, loaded, and unexpectedly humorous situations. The precision with which Ali creates her small, figurative, gouache paintings on paper is such that it takes her many months to complete a single work. In The Acephalous Series, Ali has introduced a fraught community of figures, including those with minimal bodies, some who lack heads, and others who appear to be on an endless, determined trek.

Ali has high expectations set for those who engage with her work. The Acephalous Series presents calculated, precise depictions of inconclusive scenes and asks the viewer to interpret them. Rather than revealing the “correct answer,” her work provokes individual inquiry and discovery. It is a series to be studied and experienced, not merely seen. The paintings are loaded but subtle, supporting one another while adding a new facet to the stark and mysterious narrative. The ambiguous vignettes pose questions, heighten emotions, and provide a platform for connection, ultimately leading to further discussion. The Acephalous Series points to inequity and injustice while asking viewers to assess the location, enter the conflict, and express an opinion—and maybe conceive a solution.

To coincide with the exhibition’s closing reception, Ali will present a public artist talk on campus in Merrick Lecture Hall at 7:30 p.m. March 14. Silber gallery and Goucher College’s Studio Art and Art History programs have partnered with Pellinore Press to produce a limited-edition publication to be released at the closing reception. The publications are free to attendees of the lecture on a first-come-first-serve basis, and the project is supported by Blick Artist Materials.

Ali has had solo exhibitions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, amongst many others. Her work has also been featured in the PBS series on contemporary art, Art21.


(Tuesday) 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Goucher College Art Galleries

1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson 21204