Alone in My Four Cornered Room
The title of the show, “Alone in My Four Cornered Room,” references a lyric from the 1991 classic hip-hop song, “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me,” by trio The Geto Boys. The song, like Donnett’s works explore isolation, paranoia, and identity in which perception of self and self-knowledge do not always match. In this way, Donnett takes up a strategy that has fortified hip-hop: referencing back to others in order to assemble links and connections. Both The Geto Boy and Donnett are exploring self-doubt, safety, and psychological well-being in the face of “double consciousness.” The works in this show represent Donnett’s investments in examining the entangled relationships between society, the art world, and identity. By exploring experiences of isolation, loneliness, and social stigma, and self -determination, Donnett restores and reclaims the humanity of African Americans living complex emotional lives.
More about this exhibition
Donnett’s layered works defy singular description, rather they are purposefully resistant to either/or interpretations or linear narratives. Donnett’s work is presenting us with both/and narratives in which as viewer we have a small window in which to glimpse the vertinginous experience of being both erased and highly visible – to be forced to know oneself based on the fears others might have of you. Donnett refers to this entangled interaction between the self and society as projections, noting that many of the notions we have about each other are based on narrow narratives or misinformation. Donnett’s work suggests that none of us are safe from internalizing misperceptions of others – even the misperceptions of our own identities and selves – and he explores how very challenging, complicated, and tangled such experiences can be. His carefully crafted work plays with the distance between self-knowledge and self-perception, while investigating the spaces where art, music, identity, history, the Black imagination, culture, the self, and standards of beauty may be explored – and even challenged. Donnett’s use of such diverse materials gestures toward the improvisation he highlights as part of African American culture.
Image: Scotomas Are Larger Than They Appear, by Nathaniel DonnettNext Previous