Everybody Knows – an exciting show of new work by Brian Cypher and Damien Hoar de Galvan – will open at studio e September 9 during Georgetown “Art Attack.” Viewing the work of these two artists in one gallery is akin to watching expeditioners who have stopped at the same vista to take in the view before heading off on their independent ventures.
Both artists come from a strong expressive background in painting, both frequently focus on humble geometry centered on one main form or the relationship of the chosen form to its field, both choose to leave exposed the construction — drips of glue, individual strokes or cuts, and torn edges — of their works. Both artist tackle complex ideas but offer them to us in simple terms.
Cypher: In this show we discover the artist’s most recent work, a nod at nature, rendered using paint stick, crayon, pencil, and cut swatches of fabric. For example, we may see a tree, but, rather than an actual tree, the feeling of TREEness. Cypher generates an intentional awkwardness, a refusal to edit out the immediacy and genuineness of creating a line, a shape, or a surface, thus compelling the viewer to face and accept her own awkwardness and uncertainty about being in the moment. Nothing works out “officially”; nothing is clean or easy. The monochromatic palette seems to remove distractions or “fun” variation to leave the viewer fewer “outs,” as if forcing us to look at the humble embarrassments of being conscious physical entities in the world. With the monochrome limitation, “shapeness” comes to the fore, as does the simplicity of Cypher’s binary choices – light grey / darker grey; shaded / not shaded; foreground / background; figurative (tree) / abstraction.
In de Galvan’s (continued) use of bright, energized, tightly packed chunks of wood, we sense a similar painful sincerity. Typically built from the bottom up, these pieces take their form as they are built, with one chunk influencing the next – though some are contained within an outer band that defines their outward shape. With this newest work, de Galvan breaks his former abstention from altering the found materials of his pieces to incorporate the added dimension of drawing and painting directly on the sculptures post-construction. Although de Galvan approaches his work from the front, the back exposes the raw construction, telling the story of the work’s creation in a way that takes on a life of its own. The contrast of front and back resonates with many duo issues of public versus private, displayed versus hidden, etc. Like Cypher, de Galvan celebrates rather than shying away from the tenuous and haphazard nature of creation.