“B2020” is an annual art exhibition presenting the best of emerging talent based and creating in Baltimore City. For 2020, the platform is virtual as part of Art in August, a month-long celebration of arts experiences featuring Artist Pop-Up Exhibitions, the “B2020” Virtual Exhibition, the Virtual Artist Café, Saturday Night Virtual DJs, and the Artscape Online Artists’ Market.
The exhibition unfolds the brilliance of artists Chris Batten, Ram Brisueno, Walter Cruz, Kayla Fryer, Andrew Gray, Moses Jeune, Xavier Lightfoot, Charles Mason III, Derrick “DJ” Smith, McKinley Wallace III and Will Watson.
The virtual exhibition opens here on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 and will be available until Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
The theme for “B2020” is a presentation of Black, Male and Body. “B2020” honors the most important African American Curator and Director of The Studio Museum in Harlem, Thelma Golden. In 1994, Golden curated the very first large scale exhibition at a major American art institute, the Whitney Museum of American Art, depicting Blackness in America. The exhibition was titled “Black Male.” “B2020” celebrates this landmark exhibition and provides our Baltimore-based artists a platform to express their creative narrative on the Black body. Whether painting, mixed media, video or photography, “B2020” delivers curated voices in tune with Black Lives Matter.
Born in Detroit, Christopher Batten began his undergraduate training at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and later completed his training at the College for Creative Studies where he earned a BFA in Illustration in 2006. Batten is a 2017 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA program. His artwork has been exhibited in cities such as Detroit, New York, San Antonio, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Batten’s works have appeared at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Red Bull Arts Detroit. He has been awarded residencies at Red Bull Arts Detroit and The Creative Alliance in Baltimore, Maryland. Also an art educator, Batten has been invited to lecture at Towson University, Wayne County Community College, and Harford County Community College. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Ram Brisueno is Baltimore based artist working in a variety of mediums, materials, and objects to create narratives that relate to personal identity and social perceptions. Ram’s creations have an emphasis on highlighting textures, color and form resulting in work with a depth of attention to both surface and concealed images. The final works provoke an intuitive response creating contemporary themes of myth-making and evolved personal identity.
Hailing from Washington Heights and The Bronx, Walter Cruz is a creative collaborator exploring the intersections of art, design and architecture to better understand how Black and brown bodies activate and take up space. Cruz has completed residencies and fellowships with The Laundromat Project and NurtureArt Gallery. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including The Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Political Graphics Los Angeles, Syracuse University and Longwood Gallery in The Bronx. Now residing in Baltimore, Cruz is an MFA candidate at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Cruz serves as the graphic designer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a member of the creative collective Axel NYC, and the creative director and co-founder for Zeal. Cruz earned his B.A in Architecture from Hobart & William Smith Colleges.
Kayla Fryer is a Visual Artist and Arts Administrator. She graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art in 2019. For 4 years Kayla has worked in community arts engaging, teaching, and mentoring the youth with programs such as Youth Arts Corps, Young Architect Workshop, and Expressions Hip-Hop Poetry Camp. This allows the youth in her community to work, express and develop their artistic skills. As a visual artist, Kayla works primarily in painting and printmaking. She has been in multiple group exhibitions such as Creating Space at the Herman Maril Gallery, We Choose! at the Frederick Douglass Issac Myers Museum, Our World at Eubie Blake Cultural Center and her most recent exhibition On the Verge: 25 New and Emerging Artists at Creative Alliance. Kayla hopes to continue to provide a positive avenue for young people to be involved in the arts, while also developing her skills as a Visual Artist.
Andrew Gray is a painter and designer continuing his practices in Baltimore, Maryland. After receiving his BFA in Fine Arts and working two years in the professional field of design, he now merges both experiences to create a unique visual language for his personal work. His personal work lightly touches on concepts of identity inspired by his culturally diverse upbringing as an African-American child. Gray’s experiences with painting and design influences his artist process. He studied African-American history, Russian propaganda of the early 1900s, contemporary realism, and color abstraction. With this, he is attentive to the rendering level of a portrait and the subtle edges between colors equally through the implementation of hierarchy, text, and placement. “My personal work lightly touches on concepts of identity inspired by my culturally diverse upbringing as an African-American child.”
Moses Jeune is an artist from Palm Harbor, Florida whose work centers around sexuality, race, love, spirituality and gender through painting, drawing, video performance and poetry. Jeune is a recent graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with a BFA in Painting. In the selected works, Moses ruminates over characterized representations of urban black and brown masculinity as well as black aesthetics and iconography. Moses contrasts those ideas with their own image that questions these ideas of what it means to be a man or what queer identity means to them. Jeune’s work has been shown in exhibitions curated by Stephen Towns and Didier William.
Born in Milwaukee, Xavier Xcel Lightfoot is a Baltimore based artist with work that spans performance, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and more. Lightfoot’s work explores a multitude of experiences within the identity of a gay Black and Native American man. It speaks on a relentless, yet progressive navigation through a newly granted freedom — attested and undefined. His work presents the viewer with questions and information about history and memory through a stream of consciousness, non-linear storytelling, the figure, the deconstruction of symbols, symbolism, and text as a catalyst for movement and understanding. Lightfoot’s work also deals with repetition and maze-like structures within his fragmented consciousness and the anxiety connected to trauma. Utilizing the sound of the whip and visuals within his performative work to evoke the visceral feelings and release of aggression, history, love, the establishment of power, and even sexual dominance. His work also explores the beauty of ballroom culture: the electrifying energy and the liberating spirit that voguing provides. The process of understanding identity and culture is a continuous process that is all connected to him, he is putting the puzzle pieces of his mind together. His work doesn’t give you all of the answers, it invites you to search, process, and find the understanding for yourself.
Charles Mason III
Charles Mason III (based in Baltimore, MD) received his AA in General Studies from the Community College of Baltimore County, 2010, BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2014, and his Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2019. He has curated several shows in Baltimore and Philadelphia as well as had solo shows in Baltimore, MD at Maryland Art Place, 2016, and Philadelphia, PA, at Spillway Collective, 2019. He has participated in group exhibitions at Hudson Valley MOCA, Peekskill, NY, the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA, Radical Reading Room, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem, NY, Breaching the Margins, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI, and Proximity, Anna Zorina Gallery, New York, New York, to name a few. His work has been included in articles in both the Baltimore Sun and Bmore Art respectively. His work is in the permanent collection of the James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, and he is a recipient of Maurice Freed Memorial Prize as well as being a current artist-in-resident at the Creative Alliance Baltimore residency.
Derrick “DJ” Smith
Reared in Baltimore City and currently a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Derrick “DJ” Smith is a multimedia artist. DJ’s Baltimore City roots and living environment sets the foundation for the simplicity and the complexity of his narrative. DJ utilizes the world of art in full, never using one way to magnify the world around him. “My work is the reflection of me growing up in one of the deadliest cities in America, and the everlasting impact it has on the people who live here.” The viewer will discover the style of DJ’s work unveils the ignored and overlooked oppression within himself and surrounding him in community. He engineers and constructs meaning in his work through form, color, eccentricity and truth shining a light on internal desolation, sorrow and unhealthy immunity without melancholy.
McKinley Wallace III
McKinley Wallace III is a painter and draftsman whose art depicts strength expounded by the oppressed and an educator dedicated to cultivating people-oriented environments that foster inclusive community building and high-quality learning. Wallace received a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). His studio work has obtained both local and national attention, including solo exhibitions at MICA, Jubilee Arts, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and, later this year, Gallery CA and Creative Alliance, as well as group shows at Connersmith Gallery, Waller Gallery, Palazzo dei Cartelloni in Florence, and Interlochen Center of the Arts. He has also worked collaboratively to create murals for NIKE, Inc., Access Art, Inc., and Monarch Global Academy.
Will Watson is an American artist from Indianapolis, Indiana and based in Baltimore, Maryland. Watson received his MFA in Painting at The Maryland Institute College of Art in the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting class of 2018. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in May 2011 from Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis, Herron School of Art and Design. He is a 2016-18 Leslie King Hammond Graduate Fellowship recipient and has been featured in numerous galleries including the Curtiss Jacobs Gallery in Harlem, NY, The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD, Pepco Edison Place Gallery in Washington D.C., Hunter Gallery at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, as well as other events and exhibitions throughout Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Chicago, Baltimore, New York and Washington, DC.