Cy Gavin’s recent paintings, such as Untitled (Snag) from 2022, conjure landscapes and the natural world. His imagery frequently starts from his observations of his immediate surroundings, but his selections also carry metaphorical weight. Recent paintings have depicted cosmic phenomena, a failing human-made dam patched by beavers, native and invasive flora, and a forest’s regrowth in the wake of earth disturbances such as construction activities.
To make the figure in this sculpture, a sleeping bag was draped to suggest the contours of a human body and then cast in clay. The thousands of empty bullet casings that surround the ceramic form become a protective barrier. “In some way,” artist Rebecca Belmore (b. 1960) has said, “the work carries an emptiness. But at the same time, because it’s a standing figure, I am hoping that the work contains some positive aspects of this idea that we need to try to deal with violence.”
Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: ishkode (fire) By Rebecca Belmore
Artist Aria Dean (b. 1993) began Little Island (2022) by putting a digital model of a monolith through a collision simulation and then rendering the impact as a physical sculptural form.
National Times (2016 / 2019) by Augustina Woodgate (b. 1981) is a closed-circuit network of clocks synchronized directly by the power grid. Since the Industrial Revolution, schools, factories, hospitals, and offices have used this kind of network architecture — referred to as a “master/slave” configuration — to keep consistent time.
A single digital master clock sends power signals to a series of analog slave clocks, commanding synchronized measure across an entire institution. The master keeps steady time based on a pulse transmitted directly from the local power grid, whose frequency is aligned with the atomic clock at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which establishes official United States time.
Here, the hands of the slave clocks have been outfitted with sand paper. As National Times progresses, the minute hands of the slave clock scrape away the numerals on their faces until they are completely erased. Conditioned by the current state of labor and power, the slave clocks progressively erode their functional value, collectively reclaiming autonomy in the process of disintegration.
Photographed as Part of the 2019 Biennial Exhibit at The Whitney Museum in NYC
Todd Gray’s work draws from his archive of photographs amassed during the past forty-five years of his career. Taken in locations from Hollywood to Ghana (where he maintains a studio), these images have been selected by the artist to explore the complex interrelation of Blackness, diasporic identity, and historic systems of exploitation. For his ongoing series Exquisite Terribleness, begun in 2013, Gray collages photographs into a layered arrangements of thrift store frames, creating compositions of fragmented bodies. Many of the individual photographs that Gray uses for his collages were shot following his own creative visions; others, such as in Euclidean Gris Gris 2 (2018) were commissioned, including many he took as Michael Jackson’s personal photographer in the 1970s and early 1980s. Jackson is significant here for Gray not as a celebrity or figure of controversy, but as a global phenomenon whose almost mythic status serves to frame the complex issues explored in Gray’s work. Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 1983 and then tried and acquitted for the crime in 2005. New allegations surfaced in a documentary released on HBO in early 2019.
Photographed as Part of The 2019 Biennial Exhibit at The Whitney Museum, NYC