JUNE 1-30, 2017
Opening Reception: Sun. June 11, 2017, 6-8 pm
Proxy Gallery is pleased to present Strange Fruit, an installation by Sabree Woodward. Two stylized handmade ceramic fruits/flowers, fired and painted but not glazed, sit atop dried mossy branches, arranged in the white cube. Beyond obvious binaries about nature and art, the natural and the artificial, or politics and nature, we must consider the title of the work, referring to the song about lynching sung by Billie Holiday.
Woodward’s installation is a memorial because it is unapologetically designated by her as such: she believes that addressing historical wounds through art can and should be done in new ways, to avoid over-coding and reductionism. Although fruits and flowers on branches are specific representations, here (and in the song) they function as poetic abstractions that the artist seeks to re-encode as hopeful monuments to those that have fought for freedom.
Southern trees bear strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees/Pastoral scene of the gallant south/The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh/Then the sudden smell of burning flesh/Here is fruit for the crows to pluck/For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck/ For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop/Here is a strange and bitter crop.