David-Jeremiah, born 1985, grew up in Oak Cliff, Texas, and continues to work in Dallas, Texas. His multi-media practice seeks to incite conversations around ritualized violence, racial histories, carceral experiences, police behavior, and gang culture manifested through semiotics within the United States. The forms, materials and images of his work speak to these themes, communicating dynamics.
David-Jeremiah reins the process of power exchanges into the concision of physical presentations. Concepts stem from a productive, nonviolent frustration with the pressures as an American Black man to provide the initiation, context, and consolation for historically repetitive conversations about race and discrimination. As a conceptual artist, David-Jeremiah approaches his materials and craft with symbolic intention, analogizing his experiences within their contexts to language and its physical manifestation. David-Jeremiah spent four years in a Texas prison for attempted robbery, and filled nine composition notebooks with plans for conceptual artwork. Through his practice, the artist connects and disconnects with his audience, always moving with precise intention and performance. He is currently working on a project titled, “Supposed To Do” that was configured from comparing the unique social structures of prison life with the historical context of hierarchical masculinity and contemporary standards.
In his early work, ‘FOGA (Felon Yoga),’ 2018, David-Jeremiah channels the ritualistic violence of masculinity that determines hierarchies within prison into the tranquilized control reached within yoga. Because the body faces the final consequences of any social behavior, David-Jeremiah mediates between internalized and externalized expressions. In his performance ‘The Lookout,’ 2019, David-Jeremiah instructed visitors to don a Klu Klux Klan mask and "Turn me right,” using white ink to complete a KKK tattoo on his left arm, after the lesson of his grandmother that “white makes right.” His performative works reaffirm tensions to suspend topics that an anxious audience has filtered into a passé of taboo injustices. The artist says, “If I could make myself uncomfortable by putting a KKK mask on my body and you putting a KKK mask on, it makes a double negative become a positive.” The artist's series, ‘I Heart Micah,’ 2020, returns Micah Xavier Johnson, a black veteran who killed five police officers, and was subsequently killed by a robot, into the company of law enforcement, by attaching bumper stickers to squad cars, and preserving these stickers in pelleted, bullet-proof glass. David-Jeremiah documents the tagged cars driving unknowingly with this icon of police protest, Black masculinity, and combative debate. His recent series of “acronym” paintings, ‘I.A.H.Y.F.F.A.W.D. / N.F.D.B.J.W.B.D.,’ 2020, frame "the most toxic, hateful, and racist sentence [he] could get off [his] chest at the time towards white people," within the silhouette of Lamborghini car-hoods named after fighting bulls who survived their sacrificial role by killing their matadors. These Italian machines of ritual violence harbor his hieroglyphic rebukes toward an audience compromised in their jouissance efforts to understand him, despairing for an enigmatic synchrony.
David-Jeremiah explores timeless topics and positions through inventive and emblematic materials. The artist remedies hegemonic constrictions of race, class and gender in an arduous and systematic practice. David-Jeremiah layers his contemporary perceptions of surviving historical presences, over the traditional relapse of aggression, prejudice and miscommunication amidst all individuals for the varying reasons that each of his works explores.
Kendra Jayne Patrick's Play, Hamborghini Rally, Halsey Mckay Gallery, East Hampton, NY 2021
Hood Niggas Camping, 500X Gallery, Dallas, Texas, 2020
Things Done Changed, The Public Trust in Dallas, 2020