Thru 07 April 2012
At Gabriel Rolt
Galerie Gabriel Rolt is delighted to announce the first exhibition in the Netherlands by the young American artist Davina Semo. ‘PACING LIKE A TIGER’ presents an entirely new body of work. Semo’s sculptures combine brutality with beauty, describing a psychological landscape that is both dangerous and intoxicating.
Semo has attracted considerable attention for the physicality of her works. Using such materials as one-way mirrors, chains, safety glass, reinforced concrete and spray paint, her works reference a post-industrial world that is disquieting yet incontrovertible. Her sculptures offer, as the critic Bob Nickas has pointed out, ‘a distanced and implied violence’, whilst also being ‘capable of pure poetic gesture.’
For all the impersonal nature of their materials, Semo’s works address the human condition. Her titles — fragments from a heterogeneous pool of literature and conversation — imbue the sculptures with enigmatic narrative, speaking in a variety of idioms, yet always with a capitalised detachment. Their different voices prevent their messages — WELL I TALK ONE WAY, BUT I’M REALLY, UNDERNEATH, THE SAME KIND OF MANIAC THAT YOU ARE (2011); or LONG STRETCHES OF INTOLERABLE BOREDOM PUNCTUATED BY SMALL CRISES OF DISGUST (2011) for instance — from seeming to reflect Semo’s own state of mind, instead implying a pandemic hysteria from which she is distanced enough to transform into humour. They recall the titles of Roy Lichtenstein and have Pop Art’s ability to talk directly to people, yet they are applied not to comic-like images but to aggressively abstract forms, thus radically differing in tenor.