Cheryl Pope’s new work “Chain Reaction” awakens a sense of responsibility and awareness that is rarely experienced in a gallery context. Her work speaksabout violence, power, segregation, greed, and the social constructions we bind to our identity, while simultaneously reconstructing our ideals with a new perspective. Through research, community collaboration, and a fixed conceptual idea shecreates mix media, photography, video, sculpture, an installation in her solo show at Mark Moore Gallery.
In the entryway, a witling memorial that read “To Young To Die” greets you. The Styrofoam letters, together with withering carnations and roses are a delicate and disturbing truth of decay, set the tone for the show. As you enter the main room you are faced with a set of desks that are tagged and scratched with text and drawing from the video “In Between The Line”, playing on the wall. Pope asked young poets to carve out their thoughts and frustrations on the desktops, as a result we are able to walk between the lines of desks and see what they left behind. The action and aggression of immediate thought is present in words and phrases such as “ Struggle is preparation for your gifts” and “ Growing up I never thought I’d live past Eighteen”, while words of hope mix in “ We are seeking peace” and “WORK, LEARN ,LOVE”.
In the same room there are video works “One Of Many”, which portrays a succession of Chicago youth dressing themselves in memorial , RIP, T-shirts. Starting with and individual putting on one shirt, the video progresses as each succeeding youth wears one more shirt than the person before him or her, every shirt bears the predecessors face. Sadly, each person wears the loss that only grows thicker and heavier as the video progresses. In “Black_White”(Broach)Pope, examines issues of connectivity in a segregated society by literally joining the words “black” and “white” with faux gold chain. Recognizing that theses words are social constructed ideals that are meant to keep us apart, Pope creates a connection that can bring us together. Other works “Silence the Silence” and “Don’t Tip the Scale” uses language to show the inequality that can be created by its context.
On opening night Pope had Britteney Black Rose Kaprirecite poems from her book WINONA AND WINTHROP, and had members of Street Poets Inc., a nonprofit organization connect with poetry and gain freedom to “at-risk youth in the juvenile detention facilities , schools, and streets of Los Angles County to discover and develop their voices as writers, artist and human beings.”
“Chain Reaction” can be seen until August 6th, at Mark Moore Gallery.
All images provided by the gallery