Zoë Charlton‘s solo exhibition Ipseburg will be on display January 21 through February 25, 2023 at Tyler Park Presents. Charlton creates figure drawings, collages, installations, and animations that depict her subject’s relationship to culturally loaded objects and landscapes.
The exhibition, Ipseburg, features selections from three series of works by Charlton that focus on the body, material culture, and ancestry in large-scale drawings through self-portraiture. In the Immortal series, Charlton portrays herself as the Titan Cronus, eating digitized and flattened versions of African masks sourced from internet searches. Genetic testing, history books, and objects at cultural institutions offer a contextual understanding of one’s history, but an ancestral void of knowing lineage still exists. Cut off from their genealogy, these Black women are consumers of simulacra of ancestors. The Spirit Squad series depicts women wearing athleisure and African masks, like ancestral cheerleaders in seductive selfie poses. The hair protrudes from or overpowers the mask, obscuring the face of the cheerleader. The struldbrugs series continues Charlton’s investigation into self-portraiture. Created at The Brodsky Center with collaborative paper-maker Nicole Donnelly, this small edition includes four unique variants. Charlton translates her image as a life-size watermark on handmade cotton paper, standing over a stenciled pulp painting of her grandmother’s estate in Tallahassee, Florida.
The word “ipseburg” is a compound word combining ipse: the Latin word for self and burg: a castle or walled building. Ipseburg is Charlton’s self-actualized term for a place, both real and imagined, that we are born into or have built with others. It represents a space where one matters and is worthy of care and protection. It can be tangible like the homestead in struldbrugs, a belief system that affirms self, or an imaginative version of the self as found in Blue Flip Flops (Immortal series).