Revered New York non-profit Artists Space will bring live portrait-drawing sessions to The Armory Show
July 20, 2023
Dense Embroideries Map Celestial Expanses and Abstract Landscapes by Lindzeanne
July 23, 2023
Revered New York non-profit Artists Space will bring live portrait-drawing sessions to The Armory Show
July 20, 2023
Dense Embroideries Map Celestial Expanses and Abstract Landscapes by Lindzeanne
July 23, 2023



Art

#hair#Kim Dacres#sculpture#tires

Tire Treads Twist into Braids and Knots in Kim Dacres’ Celebratory Busts of Black Women

July 24, 2023

Grace Ebert

A female bust made of tires with long braids that trail along a wooden pedestal

“Hope” (2022), recycled motorcycle and bicycle tires, wood, screws, braided bicycle inner tubes, zip ties, and spray paint, 27 x 15 x 14 inches. Photo by Max Yawney. All images © Kim Dacres, shared with permission

Artist Kim Dacres prefers materials with history, those with scars from the world and where, as the saying goes, the rubber meets the road. She molds used tires from motorcycles, bikes, and cars into figurative sculptures that are celebratory and corrective, honoring the Black women who have influenced her and addressing the challenges many have faced. “Used relentlessly until they’re deemed broken or superfluous, discarded without thought or care— where others see waste, Dacres sees possibility,” says a statement about her transformation of the material. “And with that vision comes a profound resiliency, solace, and ultimately joy.”

Portraying subjects both real and imagined, many of Dacres’ most recent works consider questions of self-expression and presentation. Coated in sleek, black spray paint and weighing, at times, upwards of 90 pounds, the sculptures feature natural hairstyles like braids, dreads, and Bantu knots that, in white spaces, have historically been questioned for their respectability and professionalism.

Two images of a female bust made of black bike tires, on the left a front view and on the right a back, which shows braids dangling from the top of the head

“Sheryl” (2022), recycled auto tires, motorcycle tires, bicycle tires, bicycle tire tubes, zip ties, bike parts, screws, wood, and spray paint, 26.5 x 11 x 14 inches. Photos by Max Yawney

Dacres first used tires in 2008 for her undergraduate senior thesis show at Williams College. She spent the next decade in education, working as a teacher, middle school principal, and professor, and in 2017, she returned to the material and her practice.

Her most recent exhibition Measure Me in Rotations, held earlier this summer at Charles Moffett Gallery in New York, brought together a series of works that reference the students she met in the classroom and those in her communities in Harlem and the Bronx, where she lives and works, respectively. Emphasizing the power of hair to assert one’s identity, Dacres uses the unique tread, texture, pattern, and malleability of the tires to form individual characteristics. Smooth, inner tubing peeks through the knots in “Bintou,” while strips of sliced rubber cascade down the figure’s head in “Britt.”

An earlier work, titled “Hope,” is a prime example of Dacres’ desire to draw metaphoric parallels between the material and the subject. Referencing the histories of the Great Migration and Caribbean and African immigration that brought many Black people north, the figure appears to both scream and mouth the word “hope.” She explains:

Hope, in part, inspires the voluntary migration away from family, friends, and familiarity and towards the newness of place and the messiness of acculturation. The feeling instigates the momentum. We move for hope. We plan with hope in mind. Hope is the feeling of the future. The material embodies the idea of travel and ultimately, the friction needed to propel forward and away from home.

Dacres has a two-person exhibition with artist April Bey (previously) slated for June 2024 at UTA Artist Space in Atlanta. She was also recently featured in the books Black American Portraits and Black Power Kitchen. Find more of her work on her site and Instagram.

The backside of a bust showing neat braids made of bicycle tires

“Hope” (2022), recycled motorcycle and bicycle tires, wood, screws, braided bicycle inner tubes, zip ties, and spray paint, 27 x 15 x 14 inches. Photo by Max Yawney

An up-close view of braids made from sleek black bike tires

Detail of “Sheryl” (2022), recycled auto tires, motorcycle tires, bicycle tires, bicycle tire tubes, zip ties, bike parts, screws, wood, and spray paint, 26.5 x 11 x 14 inches. Photo by Max Yawney

A bust of a woman with three knots at the top of her head and hair dangling down in back. The sculpture is made of bike tires and has no face

“Britt” (2023), recycled auto, motorcycle, electric skateboard, and bicycle tires, pressure-treated wood, construction screws, and black satin spray paint mounted on a red oak plinth, 69 × 13 × 13 inches. Photo by Max Yawney

Two images, both of a female bust made of black bike tires. On the left is a slanted view of the face, on the right is a side view showing long dreads dangling down the wooden pedestal

“Natty Dread II” (2022), recycled auto and bicycle tires, wood, screws, bicycle parts, and spray paint, 37 x 9 x 17 inches. Photos by Max Yawney

A female bust with knots in her hair and no face

“Bintou” (2023), recycled auto, motorcycle, electric skateboard, and bicycle tires, pressure-treated wood, construction screws, MDF, and black satin spray paint mounted on ambrosia maple plinth, 55 × 14 × 14 inches. Photo by Max Yawney

Two images, both of a female busts made of bike tires, on the left is a front facial view and on the right is a side view

“Enid” (2022), recycled auto and bicycle tires, wood, screws, and spray paint, 27 x 13 x 12.5 inches. Photos by Max Yawney

Two sculptures stand in a gallery, both figures appear to have rollers in their hair and have round, tire bodies

Left: “Anita” (2023), recycled auto, motorcycle, electric skateboard, and bicycle tires, pressure-treated wood, construction screws, and black satin spray paint, mounted on pressure-treated wood base, 52 x 16.5 x 24.5 inches. Right: “Phyllis” (2023), recycled auto, motorcycle, electric skateboard, and bicycle tires, pressure-treated wood, construction screws, and black satin spray paint, mounted on pressure-treated wood base, 54.5 x 16.5 x 24.5 inches. Photo by Tom Barratt and Charles Moffett Gallery

#hair#Kim Dacres#sculpture#tires

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

First appeared on…

Comments are closed.