DeShawn Dumas: The World Isn't a Monochrome

DeShawn Dumas, The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth (As They are Buried Beneath It),
DeShawn Dumas, The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth (As They are Buried Beneath It), 2013, pages from the Book of Genesis and Revelation, vinyl, tar, flour, tulle and aluminum over canvas, 87 x 87 inches (courtesy of the artist and Janet Kurnatowski Gallery)

Mary Negro profiles artist DeShawn Dumas on the occasion of his exhibition Future Primitive at Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, on view through June 22, 2013.

Negro writes: "Dumas’s diamond-shaped abstract works present the viewer with lofty concepts rooted firmly in both historical materialism and art historical interests. The initial surface of his paintings is composed of translucent scrims of chiffon, fiberglass window screens, geometric pieces of steel, and brightly colored layers of vinyl. These banal and industrial materials are suspended above a canvas support. It is on this foundational (canvas) substratum that Dumas engages in a ritualistic application of socio-historical substances: flour, coffee grinds, sugar, and pages from the King James Bible. Formally speaking, Dumas’s paintings or self-described 'vehicles' emphasize the flatness of the picture plane, while still asserting the sculptural concreteness of these visual objects. In a way Dumas’s vehicles reference polygon modalities of Constructivist painting and the architectonic qualities of Minimalism. However, due to the use of translucent material, seemingly flat areas of color eventually permit the viewer’s gaze to pass into the depths of these wall works."