Adebunmi Gbadebo: Remains

By Elizabeth Buhe for The Brooklyn Rail

"Remains will count among the most significant gallery exhibitions of the year."

The ten works on view in Remains at Harlem’s Claire Oliver Gallery prove that Adebunmi Gbadebo is an extraordinary artist, capable of manipulating, with rare intelligence, carefully-selected materials that align closely with her works’ affective power. While New York viewers may know Gbadebo’s blue-stained paper sheets from a group exhibition at False Flag and a solo show at Claire Oliver (both 2020), or may have seen her paired ceramic vessels in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina, this is the first presentation to showcase the clarity of her vision across media. The result is a remarkable body of work in paper, clay, and sound unburdened by the narrow concerns of entrenched tradition that soars in its sensitive attention to the marriage of materiality and concept. Throughout, the point of entry is the history of Gbadebo’s enslaved ancestors on the Lang Syne and True Blue Plantations in South Carolina.

The ceramic vessels mark a new level of achievement in Gbadebo’s career, their materiality wholly commensurate with her larger project of storytelling by connecting entities and forces that remain from the past with those she forges anew.

February 1, 2023