LaKela Brown: Material Relief

Opening Reception: June 23, 6-8PM

Jun 23—Aug 10, 2018

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LaKela Brown, Doorknocker Earrings Arrangement Relief, 2018, Plaster, 51 x 41 cm
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Installation View. Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Love Triangle, 2018 Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Heart, Round, and Triangle Bamboo Earring Composition Sunken Relief, 2018 Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Install View. Photo credit: Naaman Rosen
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Threes, 2018 Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Door Knocker, Grill and Chicken Head Arrangement, 2018 Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Install View Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Doorknocker Grill, and Chicken Head Large Composition, 2018 Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Free Hearts, 2018
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Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Triangle and Circle Sunken Relief with Silver and Gold, 2018 Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Pattern Repeated in Reverse, 2018. Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Install View: Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Round Bamboo Earrings with Silver Sunken Relief, 2018. Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen
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Triangle Bamboo Earrings and Chicken Heads, 2018. Photo Credit: Naaman Rosen

Detroit, MI – Reyes Projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist and Detroit native, LaKela Brown, opening on Saturday, June 23, 2018. Echoing the aesthetics of ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts, Brown presents her largest works in her series of plaster reliefs that preserve the jewelry of the 1990s hip hop era and other relics frequently attributed to African-American culture.

The works in the show act as a sartorial diary from Brown’s personal archives. The status symbols of her childhood—door-knocker earrings, rope chain necklaces, and gold-capped teeth—function here as semi-abstractions that are both playful and meditative. The use-value of these objects has been eliminated in favor of their value as time capsules of another era. The objects memorialize the aspirations of wealth in American hip hop culture as an aesthetic phenomenon with important visual manifestations.  

Brown seeks to investigate the fleeting nature of material and social currency as well as the aesthetics of status. At the heart of this show is an artist problematizing societal norms that frame taste and wealth as a dichotomy. By framing material signifiers from the hip hop community as ancient artifacts worthy of preservation in a museum, the show takes a political stance. What is the point of representation without posterity?

Brown will create a number of new plaster pieces specific to the exhibition in her hometown of Detroit.

The exhibition will be on view at the gallery through August 10, 2018.



LaKela Brown was born and raised in the city of Detroit, MI where she attended the College for Creative Studies. She majored in Fine Arts, and earned her B.F.A. in 2005. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.



Reyes Projects (established in 2017) is a contemporary art gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. The gallery occupies a 4,600-square foot space in a newly-renovated landmark building on Old Woodward Avenue. Reyes Projects will reveal six to eight exhibitions a year dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists. It is with such presentations that the gallery seeks to reveal a profile both internationally renowned and regional in dialogue. Collaborating with local patrons and institutions alike, the gallery hopes to continue to diversify and strengthen Detroit’s arts community. For more information, please visit