Stephen Andrews

dəˈvīn kämədē

painting and drawing
September 8 - October 7, 2017
Opening Reception Friday September 8, 7-10pm


Axis Mundi

Axis Mundi, 2017
oil on canvas
96 x 72 inches

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

-Leonardo Da Vinci


"The phonetic rendering of the title confuses its initial reading. At first glance it seems nonsensical. Maybe pretentious or laughable. If you sound it out you will probably get it. It is used here as a way to direct the viewer how to possibly view this exhibition. Things are never what they appear. Dante’s allegorical poem was written at a time of fierce partisan struggle and is critical of many of the key players who found themselves in the various rings of hell commensurate with their sins. Similarly, comedy is the site of political critique in this day and age. (I wonder though if it doesn’t let off just enough steam in order to keep people from acting or lead them into an ironic detachment. Very little is funny in this comedy.)

"It is the uncanny parallels between Dante’s Divine Comedy and this political climate that have led me to this particular crossroad. My attempt here is to respond to this moment with a poetic assembly of paintings and drawings. There is not an illustrational relationship between this exhibition and Dante’s poem, the current zeitgeist or it’s specific cast of fraudsters, avaricious politicians and their cronies per se but they do supply the impetus for the work’s creation. Three large paintings could stand in for the 3 parts of Dante’s poem or not. The watercolour pencil crayon scenes from daily life could also bring to mind the current interpersonal oversharing at play. The drawings themselves are based on cellphone images and composite news photographs of crowd control that participate in the vortex of pictures now in circulation, a part of the ‘echo chamber’ as is has come to be known. By definition an echo chamber reverberates sounds back and forth in an enclosed room. Here it is a metaphorical term used to describe this moment where ideas are bounced back and forth by social media amplifying their reach and influence. Usually the ideas go unquestioned and are unsubstantiated, resulting in a mise en abyme, an endlessly reflected space where what is real and what is not are difficult to tell apart. A veritable house of mirrors."

Stephen Andrews, July 28, 2017