Tops Gallery is pleased to present Black House | White Market, new collages and sculpture by Memphis artist Lester Merriweather.

Lester Merriweather dissects and re-contextualizes mainstream images and messages that both quietly and broadly inculcate notions of racial prominence and/or inferiority. Merriweather's stated goal for making art, "restructuring the socioeconomic standing of black people" is audacious in its idealism and ambition. If the aim seems persistent the form is varied and evolving.

Known for his tape drawings of outlines and silhouettes on both walls and windows Merriweather has long used existing photographic imagery in the service of his work. For his exhibit at Tops he will be showing a collage on mirror, a collage on opaque white plexiglass, and a collage on canvas as well a few smaller pieces from his ongoing Vanilla Extract series and two powder in glass vitrine sculptures FED and FED.

The collages consist of parts of images taken from entertainment, fashion, sports, and advertising that are used in ways that highlight absence and negative space. In both his Extract pieces and in the monochromatic planes on which he constructs his latticework of rotten visual puns and ham-fisted stereotypes, Merriweather skillfully activates the spaces that contain nothing.

Merriweather's work is precise and formally arresting. It is made with a blade which, of course, can be both a tool and a weapon.