A World Apart Press Release

A World Apart Press Release

by Lauren Kennedy

A World Apart // Roger Allan Cleaves

A new exhibition from Sheet Cake Gallery


MEMPHIS, TN, February 27, 2024 – Sheet Cake Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition from Roger Allan Cleaves opening Saturday, March 9th. A World Apart will feature paintings that exist in the rich and wondrous multiverse called the Land of the Forget Me Nots that Cleaves has created. 


Cleaves describes the multiverse as “a home for the forgotten members of society and a place where the forgotten can rediscover their history.” Through his prolific painting practice, Cleaves follows the epic adventures of recurring characters using symbolism, abstract figuration, and distortion of his subjects. He draws inspiration and references from personal experiences and contemporary culture, investigating social themes and fantasy through the lens of Afrofuturism. Oftentimes Cleaves uses motifs from Modernism that have been borrowed from African cultures to explore the complex relationship between Black artists and contemporary art institutions. The different bodies of work are generally moments from the storyline that concentrate on the characters' interactions inside the created world. The created world - Forget Me Nots Land - is a multiverse and an amalgamation of sociological ideas fused with contemporary storytelling. 


Roger Allan Cleaves is based in Memphis, TN and received his Bachelors of Fine Art at the University of Memphis. During his tenure at the University of Memphis he was one of fifteen undergraduate students selected from across the country to participate in the Yale Norfolk Summer program for the arts. Cleaves went on to study at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where he received his MFA.