ON VIEW: October 19th to October 21st
GALLERY PARTY: October 19th /// 6pm-10pm

A solo exhibition by Con Artist Collective member Victor Littlejohn

In Victor Littlejohn Manhole Cover Paintings: Homage to Gilda Snowden, the artist Victor Littlejohn provides new pathways of examining not only the urban landscape, but the incremental tools that are used to create a city. Littlejohn is interested in not just the physicality of what constitutes a city – recognizable skyline, scale, the quotidian – but the below line parts as well -- potholes, streets and its inhabitants. And it’s the last subject which becomes a central focus of Littlejohn’s exploration and where his works becomes multi-layered. The show is heavily influenced and in tribute unreservedly to Gilda Snowden, the beloved Detroit artist, professor and mentor to many who died in 2014. Littlejohn explores their friendship through Snowden’s influence on his work (they met in 1984 at the Center for Creative Studies where she was his painting instructor); his, like hers, shows an inspired and tributary use of color – the chromatic influences of Barnett Newman, Josef Albers and Mark Rothko are readily apparent. But it is the manhole coverings which allow for the intimacy of friendship and humanity that is suggested throughout his works, to be explored. Untitled (Manhole) by Snowden is a direct influence on Littlejohn’s own paintings, which prominently feature the city and its physicality. The intentional sparseness of Littlejohn’s materiality works invites the layers of human relations and the physicality of the urban landscape to create not just a city, but “the” Detroit (which is also the title of the work) as place, both real and imagined. Littlejohn invites the audience to engage with the physicality of Detroit through his “rubbing works”, drawings that were produced by rubbing charcoal against the metal surface of the manholes that dot Detroit’s streets. In Homage to Gilda, the grit isn’t just metaphorical, but a texture and central figure in the show. This of course invites a larger dialogue about Detroit’s revitalization, gentrification, and the uneasiness in its position as “the” darling of urban renewal as longtime Black residents are displaced to make room for sleek apartment buildings and Whole Foods. And these conversations are always necessary. But what Homage to Gilda Snowden honors are the people whom were there before the sleek apartments and Whole Foods, and what those denizens of Detroit created in tribute. In this case, it is an artistic link and dialogue between two artists that Littlejohn argues are the types of relationships which are the portals to understanding the real Detroit.

Born Detroit, MI 1966 School of Visual Arts, 1989 BFA

One-person exhibitions
New Paintings GALLERY N. WEST Harlem USA December 2013 BLOWING WHISPERS; ORFI VFILES soho, NYC 2011
Exodus, Victor Littlejohn BRC Gallery Peekskill, NY 2008 New Paintings BRC Gallery Peekskill, NY 2009
Line paintings La MaMa La Galleria March 1991
NYC SQUARE La MaMa La Galleria 1990, NYC

Group exhibitions
Nature’s Return NYC Parks Dept. Arsenal Gallery NYC 2012
Salon Exhibit 2005 N25 Gallery Peekskill, NY Self Portraits Sherry Washington Gallery 2004, Detroit, MI Co-op Casola Gallery 2003, Peekskill, NY
Sherry Washington Gallery 1998, Detroit, MI
The First Decade La MaMa La Galleria 1992, NYC
Styles and Aesthetics La MaMa La Galleria 1991, NYC

Focal Point Subway Jazz (b&w photo) 2000 Detroit News (feature section) US Soldier; US Boxer 2000
New York Times (westchester section) Ali Above Albers 2003

Fading Gigolo John Turturro Film; painting “Smart Set” 2012 POWER TELEVSION SERIES STARZ NETWORK “funky fur alise,

Con Artist Collective & Gallery
119 Ludlow St. New York, New York 10002
Open Monday through Saturday 11am to 7pm