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Ebony G. Patterson’s first New York solo show, “Dead Treez,” is now up at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). And while it dazzles with its colorful, elaborate collage of mixed media and installations, it dives deep into the themes of gender, race, and social class. Originally from Jamaica, Patterson was inspired by the country’s dancehall culture, to create an exhibit that not only reflects the vibrancy of this culture, but tackles some of the controversies within the country.
“There is a challenge being made about seeing and looking. The seeing is what happens on social media, but the looking is what I’m asking you to do,” said Patterson, asking viewers to look beyond the spectacle and to be “aware” of the deeper issues.
The main focal point of the exhibition is Swag Swag Krew, an installation of 10 elaborately dressed and decorated mannequins, sets up the challenge of “seeing and looking” as Patterson described. The gallery is filled with equally elaborate floor tapestries that attract the eye with glitter and costume jewelry, and then move attention toward the issues of being on the bottom of the socioeconomic scale.
An extension of the exhibit, …buried again to carry on growing, in MAD’s Tiffany Gallery, Patterson uses her collage techniques to mix with the gallery’s jewelry to create a terrarium-like installation that accessorizes the themes of “Dead Treez,” on view through April 3, 2016.