“A metaphor is small, while an ambiguity may have no clear limits.” Fairfield Porter, 1951
TIF SIGFRIDS is pleased to announce Guitar in the Sand, a solo exhibition of paintings by Gracie DeVito. This is the artists’ second solo presentation at the gallery. The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, April 29th, from 4-6 PM.
The paintings presented here were made on a grey deck that faces the Pacific Ocean, just north of Zuma Beach. The deck is small, half covered by a worn white pergola attached to a bungalow built sometime in the sixties. It’s windy and hazy, and when the waves get big the mist rises up to create a diffuse light that's perfect for outdoor painting. The deck is covered with paint except for a small area under a table where paintings lay waiting to be worked on. Other works in progress are spread out inside the bungalow, on a beige carpeted floor, that over time has become more sand and paint then carpet. The artist has been working here since August of last year.
While these paintings originate from the location where they are made, they never adhere to the conventions of that place entirely. The paintings portray the goings on at the beach, but sometimes they abandon the scene entirely and become more pastoral, more French, less Californian. A Bonnard type of light and Poussin-esque figures commingle with the sedimentary bottom of a brush cleaner. They can be ten different paintings in a day: mutated, cut up, baked in the sun and only held together by a notion or lyric. Once the artist stuck a guitar in the sand and painted it all day.
Helicopters encounter bathers on a Playa made of painted tofu scramble and real beach sand. A cowboy rests his tongue in a purple lake while seagulls hold a town hall above. The attitude of the painter, which guides the making of these paintings, is rooted in Dadaist cut-up. The brushwork is asemic. Similar to the artists’ many performances, the paintings embrace the freedom to put into the work what happens in the day to day. The beach front studio becomes a platform for absurd mixtures of people and events and the painter, like a native correspondent, records what she sees. Why didn’t Gorky drive out to Malibu when his studio burned to the ground?
Gracie DeVito lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from Cal Arts in 2012.