12 March - 4 June, 2020
Catalyst Contemporary presents Authentic Realities, an art exhibition featuring new work from the recent artist addition to their growing roster. Sobia Ahmad, Damon Arhos, and Erick Antonio Benitez’s works speak uniquely about their constantly evolving communities, challenging the status quo, and creating a better common future.
The phrase, Authentic Realities, defines a growing movement in contemporary art. Each artist in this movement has a direct link to their subject matter or the starting point for their creativity is based in reality -- a real event or set of experiences acting as the core of their practices. The resulting works speak to illustrate their experiences, often referencing, not focused solely on past events, personal or cultural connections, and link them to the present. As well, all of these artists have social and community components. They seek to address, normalize, and give visibility to the communities they belong to, and to bring the issues facing each group to the forefront of mainstream culture.
Currently, a wide swath of contemporary art is thrusted into the umbrella of Post-Modernism and the many iterations of Post-Post-Modrenism. However, as we move deeper into the 21st century, cohesive trends emerge. Ahmad, Arhos, and Benitez are not the first artists to utilize the key components of the Authentic Realities movement. They are joining the ranks of others such as Felix Gonzales-Torres, Paul Rucker, Doris Salcedo, Joyce J Scott, Kara Walker, and Fred Wilson whose mediums, methods, and techniques vary but all reference the past to comment on the present and seek to change the future.
Authentic Realities is a direct response to the current socio-political environment riddled with divisiveness, fracturing of civil cohesion, a renewed fear of “others,” and the loss of a clear sense of what is real and who has the power to fabricate and dictate our shared realities. By basing their practices, subject matters, and storytelling in reality, Ahmad, Arhos, and Benitez are expanding upon the types of stories told in mainstream culture and defining who is allowed to lead such expansions by authenticating our multitude of shifting realities. Their authentic work speaks of humanism and the common experience of home, self, and nature that we all share.