object/Affection

June 10 - July 17, 2016

Damien Davis

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Black Ball Projects is very pleased to announce Object/Affection, the first solo exhibition of Damien Davis. The exhibition features new textile-based works alongside a selection of sculptural pieces previously exhibited in the group show ReSignifications, Florence, Italy 2015. Through the interpretation of the “Blackamoor” trope in Western culture, the works examine the tradition of decorative art that emerged from the intersection of cross-cultural encounters that were shaped by centuries of migration, exchange, conquest, servitude, and exile. Davis continues to expand on these ideas and the associated visual ideograms, while simultaneously examining issues of love, loss, and collective mourning.

Davis uses sculpture, digital printmaking, drawing, and performance to deconstruct cultural codes and African diasporic iconography present in modern culture. His work draws from both historical and contemporary images that convey meaning through their pictorial resemblance to real physical objects such as cowrie shells, teeth and tobacco leaves. These objects often serving a double function as signifiers of power, currency and subjugation. His practice looks to expose our learned and innate relationships to race by using ideograms to outline and then deconstruct the concepts that have been historically oppressive to African diasporic peoples. Davis does this while blurring the boundaries between art and design through an array of aesthetics and differentiated forms of production.

 

Davis will also use the exhibition as a laboratory for the exchange of art as commodity. The commercialization of an art-object originally created, in this case, with love and intention for a complex visual, cerebral, and socially conscious exchange, makes the potential sales and commodity portion of the program difficult for the artist to reconcile. Towards this end, Davis has created a special “Exhibition Sales Form” that will be part of any sales made by the gallery or the artist. The legally binding agreement involves the negotiation of price between buyer and artist, but also establishes terms whereby the artist relinquishes the piece while agreeing to find a replacement for the object with love and goodness for himself.

 

Damien Davis was born in Crowley, Louisiana and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He received his BFA and an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University, New York. Past group exhibitions include: 12x12x12 at Black Ball Projects, Brooklyn, NY, in 2015; The Magic Flute at 80WSE Gallery, New York, NY in 2015; ReSignifications at Museo Bardini, Fondazione Biagiotti Progetto Arte, and Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy in 2015 and RESPOND at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY in 2015. Forthcoming exhibitions and performances include: The Magic Flute: A Film in Pieces at 80WSE Gallery, New York, NY in 2016; Itasca at The Bindery Projects, St Paul, MN in 2016 and Home Perm 8 at Safe Gallery, Brooklyn, NY in 2016.