A Muffled Sound Underwater

LatchKey Gallery

Feb. 21, 2024 - Mar. 20, 2020

361 Canal Street
New York, 10013


“If you were on the Moon, which has no atmosphere, the sky would be black both night and day.” -The StarChild Team at NASA

LatchKey Gallery is pleased to present A Muffled Sound Underwater, an exhibition that critically engages the cultural and historical perceptions of the color black through the lens of abstraction and how these preconceived notions directly/indirectly transfer to blackness.

The exhibition is a culmination of a three-year investigation between Alteronce Gumby and Tariku Shiferaw whose visual language echo a parallel in their use of color and abstraction to discuss culture. Through their analysis, Gumby and Shiferaw bring together artists Dominique Duroseau, Torkwase Dyson, Tsedaye Makonnen and M Marvin Touré whose work share a commonality in relation to the color black or to the oppositional disposition of Blackness in multiple western societies.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue produced by LatchKey Gallery with an essay by Niama Safia Sandy.

An iteration of the exhibition will continue to Mehari Sequar Gallery in collaboration with the Smithsonian Museum in June, 2020.


The color black has been perceived in many ways throughout different cultures. To some, it’s a void, an abyss, a blackhole in which everything gets lost. It’s fearsome. It is the night. To others, it’s the color of beauty, wisdom, strength, and pain. It attracts heat. It is the color through which the African American culture is conceptualized and simultaneously “Othered.” Fred Moten describes Blackness as a form of radicalism, yet it is muffled as an underwater sound. Perhaps, silencing such loud and radical sound is only logical to those who don’t feel the syncopated rhythm of blackness echoing through the depths of the dark universe.

Such vibration hits differently beyond the boundaries of cultures within the United States – it is habitually tied in with the misconception of danger or evil. A curse, even. Normality is a societal construct, where perception is skewed against a tone that shines dark-blue in the moonlight. Blackness only becomes a subject matter when in opposition yet transcends melancholy amidst kindred spirits. There is no gaze that’s not oppositional in Western society, where Blackness becomes the object of spectacle.” – Alteronce Gumby, Marvin Touré, and Tariku Shiferaw.


Dominique Duroseau is a Newark-based artist born in Chicago, raised in Haiti. Her interdisciplinary practice explores themes of racism, socio-cultural issues, and existential dehumanization. Her exhibitions, performances, and screenings include SATELLITE ART and PULSE Play in Miami; The Kitchen, The Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum (BWA for BLM), El Museo del Barrio, A.I.R. Gallery, BronxArtSpace, Rush Arts Gallery, and Smack Mellon in New York City; The Newark Museum, Index Arts, Project for Empty Space, and Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ.

Her recent exhibitions and talks include: solo exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, panelist at Black Portraiture[s] at Harvard and lecturer at Vassar.
She was a fellow at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, and received artist residencies from Gallery Aferro, Index Art Center, the Wassaic Project and Shine Portrait Studio; and recently awarded residency at MassMOCA, NARS Foundation and Artists Alliance Inc. Duroseau holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Arts in Fine Arts

Though working in multiple forms Torkwasa Dyson describes herself as a painter whose compositions address the continuity of movement, climate change, infrastructure, and architecture. For Dyson these subjects in relationship to each other produce abstractions that explore the history and future of black spatial liberation strategies and environmental racism.

Dyson considers spatial relations an urgent question both historically and in the present day. Through abstract paintings, Dyson grapples with ways space is perceived and negotiated particularly by black and brown bodies. Explorations of how the body unifies, balances, and arranges itself to move through natural and built environments become both expressive and discursive structures within the work.

Tsedaye Makonnen is a multidisciplinary artist who exhibits internationally. Her primary focus is on countries within the Americas and African continent. She explores her hyphenated identity as a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants and a black American woman through her studio and research-based practice. Her approach attempts to convey the African Diaspora’s response to forced migration and the effort to recreate the Self within new territories.

She is currently one of the 2019 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows, recipient of the DC Oral History Collaborative grant and DC Public Library’s Maker-in-Residence 2018-2019. She just completed the month-long Savage-Lewis Artist Residency at Martha’s Vineyard this Summer with Ayana Evans. They exhibited a multimedia installation of their work, performed and gave an artist talk during Art on the Vine in August 2019. Further, she has performed at the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Miami, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, Pratt Film Institute, Queens Museum, Festival International d’Art Performance in Martinique, Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Ghana, Fendika Cultural Center in Ethiopia and more.

Alteronce Gumby is an artist living and working in New York. His artistic practice ranges from painting and ceramics to installation and performance. Gumby’s work has been exhibited at galleries such as Gladstone Gallery, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center and Camden Arts Centre. In his recent exhibition Catching the Holy Ghost at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Gumby explored color as it refers to transcendence from the physical, to the idea of the spiritual. Painting becomes the artists’ undeniable language of awareness, as an act of transcendence, offering a form of liberation and tranquility through color.

Gumby graduated from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in Painting and Printmaking in 2016. He has won notable awards such as the Austrian American Foundation/ Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts and the Robert Reed Memorial Scholarship. Gumby has also participated in numerous international artist residencies such as the Rauschenberg Residency (2019), London Summer Intensive (2016), Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria (2015), 6Base (2016), and as the 2016 recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship at the Fondation des Étas-Unis in Paris. His work was featured in publications such as New American Painting #123 MFA Annual 2016 and BOMB Magazine. Gumby has also curated exhibitions such as Sunrise/ Sunset at Infinity Room Gallery and To Dream Avante-Garde at Hammond Harkins Galleries.

Marvin Touré is an Ivorian-American artist who uses objects of innocence (artifacts and stories from his childhood and adolescence) as a vehicle to interrogate themes of race and mental health. In 2014 Marvin received a B.A. in New Media Arts with a minor in Architecture from Southern Polytechnic State University (now Kennesaw State University) in Marietta, Georgia. In 2016 he received an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts and soon after completed a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2016). Touré’s work has been included in exhibitions at Jan Brandt Gallery (2015) in Bloomington, Illinois, The Hole (2016) in New York City, the PRIZM art fair (2016) in Miami, Florida, Project for Empty Space at Gateway Project Spaces in Newark, New Jersey (2016), Smack Mellon (2017) in Brooklyn, New York, the University of Connecticut-Stamford (2018) in Stamford, Connecticut, and the Franconia Sculpture Park (2018) in Shafer, Minnesota. In 2018 Marvin’s first solo exhibition was shown at the AC Institute in New York City, and shortly after he was named as one of the five 2018 FSP/Jerome Foundation Fellows.

Tariku Shiferaw is a New-York-based artist who explores “mark-making” through painting and installation-art in order to address the physical and metaphysical spaces of painting and societal structures. His current exhibitions include Men of Change, a nation-wide traveling exhibition with the Smithsonian Institution; and Unbound, a group exhibition at the Zuckerman Museum of Art. Other exhibitions include the 2017 Whitney Biennial, as part of Occupy Museum’s Debtfair project; A Poet*hical Wager, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; What’s Love Got to Do With It?, at the Drawing Center in New York; Erase Me, at Addis Fine Art, London; and This Ain’t Safe, at Cathouse Proper in Brooklyn. In May 2020, his work will be presented in a solo exhibition at Frieze Art Fair New York through Addis Fine Art.
Shiferaw has participated in the Independent Study Studio Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY (2019). He is a current participant of Open Sessions at The Drawing Center, NY (2018 – 2020) and an artist in residence at the LES Studio Program in New York City. In March 2020, he’ll start an eight-months art residency at the World Trade Center through Silver Art. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Hyperallergic, The Washington Post, and Art in America magazine among other publications.

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