Aaron Turner

Location: Springdale, Arkansas, United States

My work explores the question of what black art is, and what a black artist is in the
context of the representation of the black experience, the discourse of photography, and
the ongoing radical movement for social and racial justice. I engage in abstraction as a
tool to shift questions of identity within a traditional, often monolithic historical
narrative. This body of work titled Black Alchemy approaches the issues of identity,
racial passing, abstraction, the historical archive, and the studio, while also thinking about
ideas of the black artist as subject and blackness as material.

I explore these issues through photography. The works comprise of a culmination of
black and white photographs composed from a large format 4x5 view camera, of
constructed spaces and still lives within the studio, layering through digital imaging, and
both racial and artistic passing. The photographs build a physical representation of my
internal monologue about space, history, and my response to finding artifacts in the
studio. The photos explore language, genealogy, DNA, and the labor of mark making in
an attempt to create a personal tribal existence, -- a continuation of moves that are native
to me but foreign in meaning to the viewer but recognizable in the method. Allowing the
formation of my mono tribal existence in the studio, and that presence becomes a reality
when I put those objects out into the world. Within the abstraction of the photographs is a
coded lexicon; though personal it allows the viewer to project onto the objects based on
the multiplicity of their own experience(s).

Fredrick & Jules, 2019

Untitled (can't stop thinking about MLK), 2020

Looking at Dru King, 2018

Served with Distinction (WWII), 2018

Looking at Poitier, 2015

History Repeats, 2018

Self Preservation, 2018

Untitled (self), 2015

Untitled, 2018

Shift: History at Play #2 (Triptych), 2020

Fredrick & Jules, 2019

Untitled (can't stop thinking about MLK), 2020

Looking at Dru King, 2018

Served with Distinction (WWII), 2018

Looking at Poitier, 2015

History Repeats, 2018

Self Preservation, 2018

Untitled (self), 2015

Untitled, 2018

Shift: History at Play #2 (Triptych), 2020