The SCAD Museum of Art presents, “So-Called,” a solo exhibition of existing and new work by artist Nari Ward. Ward’s practice plays with the ambiguity and symbolism of objects sourced in his immediate surroundings. These objects are often repurposed into elaborate sculptures and two-dimensional works that address social, economic, political and racial issues.

Ward's work, presented for deFINE ART 2015 in the SCAD Museum of Art's Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies, features conceptual pieces that mix and meld found iconic objects with popular idioms and forms. "We the People," for example, illustrates the opening declaration in the U.S. Constitution with shoelaces alluding to the phrase "to pull yourself up by your bootstraps." The museum’s west end courtyard showcases a newly commissioned film installation, "Spellbound," that engages history, sound and architecture and conveys a sense of longing and belonging.

The centerpiece is a used upright piano with hundreds of metal keys (mostly used and lost) attached to its form, housed within a historic candy shop that was rescued from demolition by a local wood salvage yard. The keys reference aspects of history that have been lost or unacknowledged. They may be keys to places that no longer exist or are no longer in use. A new film made by Ward in Savannah loops continuously on a monitor attached to the backside of the piano. "So-Called" invites viewers to contemplate the presence of stories both told and untold and reconsider how we interpret signs and symbols in and out of context.

This exhibition is curated by Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD executive director of exhibitions.

All images: Courtesy of SCAD