(32) Devin Troy Strother (USA)

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“Gurrrrl You Know I’m Just Talking About That Composition, Gurrrrl what’chu Know About That Post Contemporary”

 

Solo exhibition by Devin Troy Strother (USA)

 

April 27 – June 16, 2012

Opening reception: Friday, April 27, 5-7 PM

 

Palægade 5,    1261 Copenhagen K.
Phone: +45  2125 2325     e-mailbendixen@contemporary-art.dk

Tues – Friday:  12-17
Sat: 12 – 15

 

I am super focused on painting and the depth created between the cut-outs, the paint and the shelf structures. I am not interested in being a part of this generation that tries to work in all kinds of media. I want to be absolute about it.

 

I have no interest in exploring themes of slavery, civil rights movement, and anything that has to deal with the black struggle. My paintings focuse on more current themes, that I feel haven’t been fully explored by other black artists. I’m enthused by exploring how African American culture, has become representative of American culture, mainly through the entertainment industry. I feel that I’m part of a generation of young black artists, that wants to be recognized, as an “artist” and not a “black artist” dealing with black struggles. Influenced by i.e. Trenton Doyle Hancock, I want to separate myself from popular “heavy black themes”. I would say that I’m exploring “post black” themes, that deal with my own personal experiences, of being born in 1986 and coming of age in the 2000s.

 

This exhibition is a bit detached from other work I’ve been doing, it’s about the more sculptural aspects of my work. Also, it revolves around ongoing narratives, that I have been developing for the past years. One of them is about a fictional group of a women’s performance group. One of the members of the collective is named Quiesha. Quiesha is the curator/installation artist of the group. She puts on a series of shows exhibiting objects and sculptures arranged on shelves.

 

The objects and sculptures function in different modes. They act as reference to other artworks, that have some type of cultural significance to African American culture. Also, they also work as a reference to the rise and popularity of shelf art and slacker minimalism. An array of black women always accompany the shelf exhibits. They serve as models for the work and they also function as signage for the painting. Initially a reversal of roles from Manet’s Olympia, using the tropes of the beautiful white nude, and calling to attention abstinence of the black figure with in figurative painting, also referring to the objectification of women within painting.

 

Quiesha acts as an ongoing reference to the lack of African American curators, and that in some way they really are fictional characters. Titles like “Contemporary African Compositional Arrangements/Guuuurrrrrrrrllllll what’ch u know about graphic representation of a structure, situation and or a process” talk to fictional relationships and conversations, that happen within a fake art world populated by black female artists.

 

I use a certain type of urban language to explain what is going on in the picture, and usually the titles come before the painting itself. They are usually statements I overhear, mainly from other black people. Hearing a statement on the subway like “Ohh that’s my babies mommas favorite colours” compels me to generate sometime of image to go along with the statement. These snippets of conversations act a vehicle to present humor to the viewer through the juxtaposition of using slang, ebonics, or bad grammar in an institutional setting.

-Devin Troy Strother, april 2012

This is Devin Troy Strother’s first solo exhibition in Europe. His first solo show at Richard Heller Gallery in LA (2010) was followed by one at Monya Rowe Gallery in New York (2011). Furthermore Strother’s works has been exhibited in selected group shows in Canada, Europe and USA, i.e. Harlem Studio Museum, and The Armory Show, NY (by Richard.Heller Gallery).

 

Strother lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY.