Art Seen: Chakaia Booker at the ACA Gallery


  • The Color of Hope, 2010

Chakaia Booker's massive, intimidating sculptures are composed almost entirely from used car tires. They may have been on the wheels of a Honda, driven a thousand times from home to work and home again on a boring daily commute from the suburbs. They could have been part of semi-truck, ferrying loads of lettuce from California to Florida in a never-ending caravan of cross-country trips. They might have sat, disused, in a landfill or junkyard for years before Booker came along and put them in her studio. Wherever they may have been before, they are now in the ACA Gallery of the Woodruff Arts Center as part of Booker's solo exhibition, Sustain.

A short statement from the gallery explains that Sustain highlights Booker's use of "sustainable materials," a loaded term as of late. Sure, Booker's work uses recycled media, but it certainly isn't painting a light-green image of our present or future. The shapes that Booker fashions of these tires are ominous and bleak. One could imagine their forms lurking in the shadows of one of Terry Gilliam's dystopian films. The mention of Booker's materials being "sustainable" only reinforces the image of the unsustainable practices that these tires come from.

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