Nari Ward is a Brooklyn-based contemporary artist whose work is the focus of a new show at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Ward was born in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica in 1963. Trained in New York, Ward holds a BFA from Hunter College, CUNY, as well as a MFA from Brooklyn College, CUNY. This is not his first solo show, Ward’s work has also been showcased independently at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. His work is composed of found objects sourced from his neighborhood in Brooklyn. According to Ward, his pieces are meant to, “address issues related to consumer culture, poverty, and race.” Some of his works are also included in the permanent collection of many New York art institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Studio Museum of Harlem.
The ongoing exhibition, titled Sun Splash opened November 19th of this year, and will close on February 21st of the new year. This show is intended to be a mid-career retrospective and will be the largest showing of Ward’s work to date. The show’s narrative is structured around the related themes of his work to demonstrate the material and intellectual exploration that has taken course over his artistic career of more than 20 years. The show will also disrupt the traditional presentation of an artist’s retrospective. Rather than presenting the works chronologically, the exhibition has been curated to focus on points of reference for Ward. These themes include “urban space, performance and the human body, the dynamics of power and politics, ideas of migration and movement, vernacular traditions, and his native Jamaica.”
The exhibition will include works executed in a variety of media, including mixed-media collages, photography, assemblage, sculptures, interactive works, videos and architectural installations. By using found objects as the material for many of his works, Ward sparks a tactile conversation about the real world and its history. From Artspace, “His work focuses on political and social issues such as poverty, race, and consumer culture, examining the value, that which is inherent and that which we bestow, of the objects around us.” Ward’s use of found objects inherently questions the presumed value of an art piece, creating a juxtaposition between the materials used and the value of the whole. Ward is represented by the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, who have hosted many of his exhibitions. Considering his trajectory thus far, it is highly unlikely that this will be Ward’s final solo show. Be sure to see the exhibition, open until February 16th.