Nasher Public: Empire of Dirt

Invocation of the Cosmic Body

The collective Empire of Dirt comprises Xxavier Edward Carter, Tabatha Trolli, and Gata Veladora, who work in a range of media encompassing ceramics, works on paper, installation, and performance. On view in the Nasher Public Gallery from December 10, 2023 through February 11, 2024, their collaboration for Invocation of the Cosmic Body presents, as the artists have put it, “a world-bending environment for visitors to examine their scale against the face of the expanding universe.”

The artists of Empire of Dirt create multidisciplinary artworks that span mediums and disciplines to allow a place of connectivity to ourselves, each other, and long histories of being. In the words of the collective, “Spiritual realms and material realities come together to form the artifacts of the artist's presence through ceramic, paper, performance, and sculptural offerings to represent a collective society greater than all of us combined. An Invocation of the Cosmic Body is a calling forth of that portion of all of us that aspires to reach the unknown through the means we have.”

The installation in the Nasher Public Gallery includes large-scale paper tapestries made by collaging together various papers, from receipts, tickets, and museum brochures to drawings and hospital paperwork. Accompanying these are a group of “bonsai”—large ceramics produced at Ceramica Suro in Guadalajara, Mexico that the artists subsequently adorned with varied materials as well as video and sound components. On the closing weekend of the exhibition, Empire of Dirt will activate the installation in an artist-led demonstration and performance (details to follow).

Empire of Dirt wishes to recognize that An Invocation of the Cosmic Body is sponsored by the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture and is a National Endowment for the Arts Subgrant project.

About Empire of Dirt

Xxavier Edward Carter is an interdisciplinary artist born in Dallas, Texas with a BFA from Stanford University and an MFA from Southern Methodist University. In 2011, he was awarded an Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund from the Dallas Museum of Art and was a fellow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2016–17. In 2019 Carter was awarded a post-graduate Dijon/Dallas exchange fellowship and was included in the Nasher Sculpture Center’s Nasher Windows 2020 exhibition series. He has works in the collections of the Nasher and the Dallas Museum of Art and has exhibited in Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, and France. He is currently the Head Artist and Engineer of Goldfish Dreams, an artistic publication and production house based in Dallas, Texas.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tabatha Trolli makes functional ceramics and sculpture as well as working in painting photography. Along with a rich studio practice, Tabatha has been an instructor of Ceramics, Sculpture and three-dimensional design at the university level across North Texas. Currently, she is an Adjunct Lecturer of art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. She received a BFA in ceramics at Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia and an MFA in ceramics at The University of North Texas in Denton. She lives and works in Dallas.

Gata Voladora (Olga Maldonaldo) was born in Caracas, Venezuela and is of Colombian descent; she currently lives and works in Mexico City. Trained in classical ballet, contemporary dance at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Artes, Caracas, and aerial acrobatics with a circus guild in Caracas, her practice encompasses choreography, dance, and performance. In 2019 she participated as a performer in the international meeting of the Performance Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, New York University, in Mexico City, with the piece "El Beso Ideológico" by Deborah Castillo.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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