‘Love and Oblivion’ exhibition takes a look at life without a future


“Love and Oblivion” presents works of sculpture, video, installation, painting and performance which, although drawn from several artists, Wilkerson intends to speak from a very personal vision of living and being. to love voluntarily without imagining what will follow.

Some works are very conceptual, with an abstract meaning. A pillow is left in the center of the floor by artist Kevin Hernández Rosa, who also pushed a folding table against a wall and secured a plastic bottle above, covered in orange plastic goop. The viewer can reflect on how the works relate to Wilkerson’s theme.

Other works are more literal. A video installation by Qiaira Riley is a loop of street views on Google Maps that the artist clicked on, showing the route from her home in Chicago to her grandmother’s home in a small town in Mississippi. Above the image, a smaller video window shows the artist baking a sweet potato pie from his grandmother’s recipe. The entire video is projected onto a shelf of ceramic figurines of black figures, representing the artist’s grandmother’s collection.

Ceramic figurines sit on a shelf supporting Qiara Riley’s video installation, “To Grandma’s: a Road Trip”. (Emma Lee / WHYY)

Three days before the opening of “Love and Oblivion”, Wilkerson’s own grandmother passed away. Her death was not sudden, but anticipated: they said she suffered from kidney failure and decided to stop dialysis treatments.

“She made a conscious choice, you know. She was also in pain, ”Wilkerson said. “She has really changed my future in a dynamic way in so many ways. I think being an artist is messy work, and we can kind of work on these really messy ideas. “

The scope of the exhibition describes a small social group: the participating artists are either friends of Wilkerson or those of their ex-partner. To keep the show’s focus on the arc of love and loss in a global pandemic, Wilkerson only approached performers who witnessed their short-lived relationship.

Many artists did not do work specifically for this exhibition, and Wilkerson said they may not even agree with its premise but allowed their work to be shown nonetheless. Their ex-partner, David, collaborated with Wilkerson on several video pieces, but was not consulted on this exhibit. Wilkerson isn’t even sure their ex-partner knows about “Love and Oblivion.”

“I don’t think all artists agree with my ideas about the lack of a future. I don’t think all artists agree with my ideas about forgetting or living in nothingness, ”they said. “But it’s still beautiful because their work will live in a state of contradiction.”

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