Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present blood compass, a solo exhibition of new work by Diedrick Brackens. In these weavings, the artist maps an imagined place —visualizing the internal mechanisms and symbols that animate his work while removing the anchor of direct narrative. The scenes depicted in each weaving exist out of time, suspended between a distant past and a world to come. The works in this series are set at dusk, twilight, and deep night—hours that become vehicles for ritual and interiority. The silhouetted inhabitants of this in-between realm are archetypes that Brackens once described as ciphers, or “needles through which I slip the threads of biography and myth, and pass through a mesh of history and context.”

His figures are accompanied by an ecosystem of symbols and shapes that have recurred over the course of his practice. The animals, natural elements, and man-made objects, accrue significance every time they are cast in this ever-evolving mythology. The characters in this series are placed in dialogue with lightning bolts, waning suns, and sourceless orbs of light—open-ended devices of orientation. In these distilled arrangements, footholds for straightforward interpretation dissolve—inviting viewers to parse the compositions and uncover meaning.

Brackens’ semiotic language emerges from lived experience, but also through revisiting books, poems, and legends. In blood compass, some of these references—alluded to in his titles— include the novel Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler, the poem “How you might approach a foal” by Wendy Videlock, and the Bible’s parable of the prodigal son. These stories, though dramatically diverse in genre and subject, speak to Brackens’ inclination to loop, lose, and locate one’s self in that which is known, but also to shape-shift, forming new meaning from that which is “familiar.” He approaches these symbols—weighted with memory, context, and history—with fresh eyes or, as Videlock’s poem concludes, ”like you / are new to the world.”