Sherrill Roland is showing his first exhibition in Los Angeles, do without, do within, at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery from April 14th to June 23rd. Born and raised in North Carolina, Roland studied at the University of North Carolina: Greensboro, obtaining a BFA and MFA. This is his second solo exhibition with Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Roland’s interdisciplinary practice deals with concepts of innocence, community, and racial ontology, reimagining their social and political implications in the context of the American criminal justice system. Roland spent 10 months in prison for a crime he was later exonerated for, he returned to his artistic practice converting his experience into sculptures, prints, and installations.
This exhibition features five new bodies of work, which explore intense longing under physical and psychological constraint. In the main gallery are three sculptures of double-headed fans with slowly turning blades, which was inspired by a specific moment during Roland’s incarceration when the HVAC system in his housing unit broke down in the middle of a summer heat wave. He recalls how fellow incarcerated individuals came together to protest the unbearable conditions by refusing to return to their cells. They were given fans, which barely helped against the intense heat, that were later confiscated so they couldn’t be fashioned into weapons. This is one of many works inspired by Roland’s haunting experience of being incarcerated in the American criminal justice system.
Roland also participated in an Artist Talk on the day of the opening, with fellow artist Essence Harden.