New York artists Abigail Deville and Stephen Woods flip the script with their offer of installed works exploring the unruly nature of histories personal and political, while simultaneously questioning the stability of our prescribed notions by employing iconographic imagery, objets en flux, and permutations of assemblage/bricolage, to impart meta-static statements which function and communicate on the edges of multi and cross – sensory perception.
Putting the tangible in service of the elusive, the works suggest a dynamic exchange questioning the reliability of the systems and sciences in our physical world, with a revisionist bent of the highest order.
How items- as – receptacles gather, hold, and release meaning, as well as serve as place markers for our experiences as individuals and societies at large alike, combined with an examination of the patterns of manifestation and process, the works imply an overarching, active trust in the mutability of the universe, an order in chaos if you will, and a willingness to walk the talk of pioneers demonstrating frontier genres.
Woods’ arresting “Empty Vessels Float” achieves a visual poetic stance in which the interplay of redefined axiomatic prose, along with iconographic and archetypal imagery, creates a metaphoric dialogueof refreshing, if divergent, relationship, and a definitively original language. The final visual resolution may be mined for conventional interpretation, or alternately, and preferably, stand alone successfully as a collaborative whole, unfettered by the trappings of process and meaning; and therefore surpassing the conversation or “noise” surrounding the work, and allowing the images to sustain.
“Invisibility Blues,” DeVille’s reprieve of her March 10, 2012, Dependent Art Fair install, is a second iteration exploring a legacy of social oppression, struggle and material poverty through the accumulated remains, or “intergenerational debris” Deville considers heirlooms; a domestic collectionfrom a Bronx apartment her grandmother left in December when she passed away. The artist herself occupied the apartment (which had been passed down through three generation as part of the larger narratives of the great migration Southern Blacks to Northern Cities and the new struggles presented to them through various inequalities) until evicted March 9, 2012. In this specific installation she has taken the broken pieces of yesterday’s life as a stand for the developments of a specific material culture in America over last forty years.The excess of historical material will result in a layered, densely expansive sculptural collage environment in which the disarray of excess reveals the impossibility of a consistent narrative
Background: ARTIST’S STATEMENTS
Abigail DeVille: Through bricolage, painting, and sculpture, Abigail DeVille cobbles together a visual mass that speaks to the material culture of the present moment. She experiments using found and inherited domestic objects in order to make a connection to the universe. W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of double-consciousness is the conceptual frame DeVille uses to deconstruct two spatial relationships: the claustrophobic space of the urban environment violently clashing with the infinite expanse of the universe. Black holes are an integral metaphor. DeVille warps the time of physical objects. Her objects speak to the physical infinite expanse of universal time and societal ills of the present moment. DeVille’s work is making the visible representation of the invisible.
Stephen Woods: My current work employs objects and images and their associated meanings, in favor over words, to create an original language of visual poetry as vehicle for learning and communication. The process originates with, and is fueled by, culturally and historically significant imagery, often of iconographic nature. I employ the images and objects collaboratively, using line and placement together with texture, color, shape, and variety in materials, to define relationships and create a visual dialogue, free from the limitations, tricky nuance, and potential misinterpretation and intangibility of words. As my work progresses, individual elements are becoming more liberated from their original functions within the pieces, and have evolved to serve purely as successful aesthetics, yet no less important to the work. Such is the case with the recurrent element of threads and wires, once crucial and interdependent connectors, and now more often, unencumbered by that particular function. New to the work is the incorporation of sound, to be digested and additive on a visceral, primal level of communication. The intention is to present relationships via divergent representations that ultimately surpass the conversation that generated them, resulting in images which stand unfettered from “noise”, and function as a settled whole.
© Kami Bacon 2012