Freya Powell “The Silence of the Unsaid”

Art in General

poster for Freya Powell “The Silence of the Unsaid”
[Image: Freya Powell "The Silence of the Unsaid" (still), (2017) Courtesy the artist.]

This event has ended.

Art in General presents an exhibition with Freya Powell as part of its New Commissions Program. The collective works on view engage issues around distance, separation, and empathy in relationship to various landscapes. The show will feature Powell’s new video, The Silence of the Unsaid. This project traces the history of an Athena missile that was launched by the U.S. military in July of 1970 from a base in Green River, Utah to test re- entry speeds and impact. The missile lost control, went about 400 miles off course, and crashed in a Mexican desert known locally as the “Zone of Silence.” It was carrying two containers of Cobalt-57, a radioactive element. Powell traveled to this desert with questions about the silence surrounding the clean up of the crashed missile, as well as the myth that has since built on this history.

Related works presented in the exhibition include the three-channel video Our Disappearance is Already There (2015). This silent piece shows the physical distance between New York City’s public and potter’s field, located on Hart Island in the Bronx. The seemingly abandoned island that holds over a million deceased is seen from two vantage points, as it is circumnavigated by the camera. In contemplating the separation currently enforced by the Department of Corrections around the public space of the cemetery, the project calls into question the value of life, and how lives are allowed to be grievable or not through frames of reference such as shared experience, nationality, or humanness. Shown concurrently is a text-based artwork—evocative of epitaphs, Powell’s word lists play with repetition of language to trigger sentiments that echo the separation that is unequivocally felt. The artist states “it is through the incorporation of forced distancing that disassociation is evoked, and one’s ability to empathize is often diminished.”

Freya Powell received an MFA from Hunter College, New York, NY (2012) and a BA from Bard College,
Annandale-On-Hudson, NY (2006). Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona,
Spain (2014) and Emerson Dorsch, Miami, FL (2013). She has participated in group shows at institutions including
EFA Project Space, New York, NY (2016), Queens Museum, Corona, NY (2016), Socrates Sculpture Park, Long
Island City, NY (2015), the International Center of Photography Library, New York, NY (2014), #1 Cartagena: the
First International Biennale of Art, Cartagena de India, Colombia (2014), and the Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY (2013).
Her work is in the collections of the New York Public Library; Bard College; the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago; and Hunter College.



from February 24, 2017 to March 15, 2017


Freya Powell

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