sidony o’neal

NADA New york, May 18 - 21, 2023

sidony o’neal is an artist and writer who lives and works in Portland, OR. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Dracula’s Revenge, New York; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; Veronica, Seattle, WA; and Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, OR. Group exhibitions include SculptureCenter, NY. o’neal has participated in residencies at Mass MoCA and Banff Centre, among others. Performances as a part of DT have been presented with Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Volksbühne Berlin, and Performance Space New York. o’neal’s writing and translation has been published with PICA, SculptureCenter, Arts.Black, Interim, and Aeromoto. o’neal is the author of the chapbook LYFE IN A BOTTLE TREE BOTTLE (House House Press, 2020). o’neal has been an instructor at the School for Poetic Computation. In 2020, o'neal was awarded the Oregon Arts Commission's Joan Shipley Award. o’neal is 2022-23 Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University.

ILY2 is pleased to present recent sculptures and drawings by Portland-based artist and writer sidony o’neal at NADA New York May 18-21, 2023. These works are among those produced in the last two years as the result of a major commission from the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art for the solo exhibition, Enchiridion: Aisle, Spline, Resort, and work from the solo exhibition AuguRing at Veronica in Seattle. ILY2’s presentation of these works is part of the gallery’s ongoing commitment to and support of the artists and cultural producers of the Pacific Northwest.

This first presentation of o’neal’s work at NADA follows closely on the heels of their first solo exhibition in New York, NOT TALKING UNTIL BAD COMPANY JOINS at Dracula’s Revenge, which was reviewed favorably in the New York Times. 

The centerpiece sculpture is one part gateway, one part monument. LÉSKALYÉ A LADISTANS KOSMIK (2022) is a work of the type o’neal understands as a data storage structure. Hand-sculpted, palm-sized abstract objects cast in white bronze are displayed on small steel shelves inset into the sides of a found resin pool ladder.

The works on view introduce the complex network of ideas, references, and methods underpinning o’neal’s practice. The generative thinking space around the work is structured through philosophies, operations, and metaphors derived from computing and mathematics, both of which allow for the conception of different ways of creating and storing objects and information relating to “synthetic ways of knowing.”

The grounding of and lore surrounding the work derives from triple diasporic experiences marked by ecocide and genocide. o’neal works from “inheritance” both in thinking a mathematical ordering of operations and being shaped by certain moments in history, movements, conditions, and languages, specifically a form of Creole. Writing and translation are core, both in language—as is apparent in recent video work—and in form, as in le nid, (the nest) (2021), an undulating floor piece featuring a rippling grid of Carrara marble tiles cradling abstract 3D titanium prints not immediately recognizable as parts of the lung of a small bird. For o’neal, the grid as one of many structures of non-screen or tabletop games track with colonial land partitioning strategies and more broadly, the structural conditions that shape and constrain life, i.e. the rules of the game, particularly as experienced as a racialized subject under capitalism.

Four untitled drawings of inkjet and grapeskin on gampi paper from the Enchiridion show at PICA are here re-presented in artist frames of bleached wood in the same dimensions as the artist’s 27” computer monitor, bringing the artist’s work space into the space of the fair. Performing a related move, the wall-mounted sculpture, DEN + GUT (2022), takes the form of a natural keyboard in modeling clay and rubber.

Copies of o’neal’s artist book/catalog M:ASR published by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art on the occasion of their exhibition Enchiridion: Aisle, Spline, Resort will also be available.

ILY2 is a nexus for guided creative experimentation for artists from Portland and intersecting worlds.

925 NW Flanders St.
Portland, OR 97209, USA

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