Gina Adams I  Maajiigin wa’aw akiing miinawaa (Begin This World Again) I Merritt Johnson  I Recent Work I + work by Erica Lord

Accola Griefen Fine Art at Living Trust for the Arts - FOR INTERACTIVE VIRTUAL TOUR:

March 5 - June 15, 2020

 Accola Griefen is pleased to present a solo exhibit by Gina Adams, paintings and sculptures by Merritt Johnson and a recent work by Erica Lord at the Living Trust for the Arts in SoHo.

Gina Adams’ newest body of work, Maajiigin waaw akiing miinawaa, envisions future generations as “the way the world begins again and again” (June Jordan). As a descendent of both Indigenous and colonial Americans, Adams draws upon her ancestors’ experiences in assimilation boarding schools for this new series of child size, antique quilts. These works extend from her now iconic Broken Treaty Quilt Series, which are also on view. Adams’ cross-media practice includes ceramics in the form of the basketball in her Honoring Modern Series which addresses the role of basketball as a popular sport in the notorious boarding schools. In these pieces Adams, cross references how forced assimilation intersects with the damage done by resource extraction. Also realized in porcelain, the Ancestor Medallion Series are life-sized relief portraits picturing the artist’s Ojibwa ancestors. They are based on photographs Adams’ found in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. In addition are earlier works on paper from The Lace Bead Heritage Series, which are also based on archival research and resulted from Adams’ relearning of her Ojibwa language. The forms evoke beadwork, lacework, quillwork and birch bark biting. For the artist the work is “an act of taking something back. Of rewriting history.”

Adams has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. She is included in private and public collections including The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Peabody Essex Museum, The Hood Museum, The Asheville Art Museum, Emprise Bank, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Spencer Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and North American Native Museum, Zurich, Switzerland.  In recent years Adams has been featured in publications including The New Yorker, Hyperallergic, The New York Times, Huffington Post and Art Newspaper among others. Adams spent her youth in the San Francisco Bay area, and her early adult years in Maine. Her formal education includes a BFA from the Maine College of Art and MFA from the University of Kansas. She isn currently a professor at Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. 


Merritt Johnson’s work is a navigation of periphery, intersectionality, separation and connection.  Her multidisciplinary works are containers for thought and feeling. For two decades Johnson’s work has insisted on facing and destroying the oppression of bodies, land, sex, and culture. Her practice is a synthesis of necessity, a refusal of binaries, fractions of division and control. She embraces peripheral overlap and the impossibility of disentanglement. Johnson is pan-sexual cis-gender woman of mixed descent, she is not claimed by, nor a citizen of any nation from which she descends. The multiplicity of materials and processes Johnson employs embody her insistence that a multiplicity of tools is needed to destroy oppressive systems and survive them. She creates tools for critical thought and action: seed baskets woven in the shapes of hand-grenades and a portable oxygen tank, wearable bolts cutters, a tin can telephone to listen to land, a basket to translate a heartbeat to a love song, paintings mapping invisibility, and instructional videos to exorcise America from our bodies, land and water. Johnson is the mother and stepmother of 6 children, and holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Boston). She lives and works with her family on Lingít Aani, her partner’s home territory, in Sitka Alaska.


Erica Lord exhibits Breast Cancer Burden Strap DNA MicroArray Analysis, a new work from an ongoing series of beaded sculptures. The strands of colored beads mimic the microarray of DNA strands derived from testing that assesses genetic predispositions. Like earlier bodies of work, this sculpture addresses the government-mandated blood qualifications of Indigeneity which are in opposition to her own mixed race identification. Lord writes “My experience may be multiple or mixed, but I am not incomplete in any location.” Lord is Finnish-American, Iñupiaq and Athabascan. Her personal experience of perpetually moving between various geographic locations inspires her interest in themes of displacement and cultural identity. Lord received a BA from Carleton College and completed her MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is in many public and private collections including The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution; The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France among others. Lord lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is a faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts.