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Justen LeRoy at Art + Practice


Justen LeRoy’s Lay Me Down in Praise is a three-channel video work that melds musicality with expansive, black-and-white footage of Black individuals paired with spanning imagery of natural occurrences — volcanos, cliff sides, flowing waterfalls. In one poignant scene, a man in a black suit slowly spins in circles in the center video channel as his arms begin to splay out in dancerly arcs. Meanwhile, an eye of a storm comes into focus on the third channel, the swirling movement mirroring the man’s repeated ocular dance. 

Paired with these visually arresting shots is a musical score that features a thumping heartbeat alongside hauntingly soaring vocals. The press release describes the vocal run as “the cry and the reach, breaking sonic vibrations from the body and releasing them toward freedom,” and the films’ pairings of the natural environment with vocal experimentation and Black individuality narrows in on an expansive vision of self-expression and multiplicity.  

On view: September 17, 2022–January 21, 2023

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Photo: Justen LeRoy, Lay Me Down in Praise (installation view) (2022). Image courtesy of the artist, CAAM, and Art + Practice. Photo: Joshua White.