Clarion Vol. 4: Tiona Nekkia McClodden: MASK / CONCEAL / CARRY
Curator’s Note: Carrying
Language, in its many forms, wields power—bodily, verbal, textual, conceptual, it provides the means to communicate with one’s self and others. Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s exhibition MASK / CONCEAL / CARRY explores what it is to create and interpret language. Together, the works in this show pivot around the idea of “training to failure,” resulting in a conversation and mapping that is uniquely possible within 52 Walker’s program.
The phrase “training to failure” comes from the world of weight training. It holds that, in order to make progress, you need to carry more weight than you can handle; to achieve gains or to succeed—a success measured by and set in accordance with someone else’s standard—you must continue to strenuously lift something that is inherently too great a load to bear. McClodden is acutely aware of the body and its correspondence with the boundaries of the psyche and the spectrum of pleasure and pain. How sound, light, cultural history resonate on the body manifests in her work. Training to failure is also linked here to “dry-fire training,” or shooting without ammunition, the movements of which McClodden tracks in her videos (see pp. 54–61) and line paintings (see pp. 45–51). Dry shooting allows data to become legible, where a person’s demeanor is traced through line. Here we read motive, intention, and speed, calmness or agitation. McClodden uses Kydex to contour over pistols and ammunition from her own collection. Even the sculptures, inspired by Benin bronzes, take on the shapes of gun accessories (clips, magnums for AK47s) but allude to the figurative bodies of soldiers.