Stones Don’t Move is a powerful presentation of Mexican artist Jose Dávila – a survey consisting of his signature photographic cutouts, sculptures, and paintings. Expanding upon his career-long investigation into how the modernist movement continues to be interpreted, appropriated, and reinvented, the works on view address the tenets of architecture, art history, and physical geometry, whilst demonstrating the extensive range of Dávila’s practice.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE “Stones Don’n Move” Jose Dávila, through 3 December, at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

A selection of mobiles in various colors and sizes is suspended from the ceiling at different heights, creating an immersive kinetic installation. The works, part of Dávila’s ongoing series entitled Homage to the Square, are examples of his longstanding fascination with Josef Albers’ renowned theories on the perception and interaction of color through a mathematically determined format of squares. Dávila advances Albers inquiry by establishing the square as a three-dimensional object, existing in a dynamic state of motion.

In addition a series of large-scale photographic cut-outs based on Roy Lichtenstein’s Femme d’Alger is presented. Reminiscent of Picasso’s series on the same theme, which included fifteen oil paintings and several hundred sketches, Davila’s cut-outs come in a thirteen pieces variation. Beginning with a complete image, key elements of the image are progressively removed until the work is reduced to its essential structural elements, inviting the viewer to pause and consider the importance of both what is no longer present and what remains.

A number of new glass and marble floor sculptures complete the installation in the gallery. The sculptures expand upon Joint Effort – Dávila’s ongoing series of gravity defying works utilizing readily available building materials. Juxtaposing these materials in a literal and metaphorical moment of tension, the works create a powerful interplay of fragility and strength, balance and equilibrium.

As a round-up a series of works on paper deals with dismantling the logical relationship between form and content: Dávila superimposes playful childlike marks over taxonomical frameworks from various academic textbooks. In the center of the space a sculpture comprised of found stones, placed on a clean blue packing blanket, evinces a sense of the fundamental building blocks of Dávila’s work. Utilizing the horizontal plane, the piece foregrounds Dávila’s entire sculptural oeuvre and acknowledges the minimalist notion of “sculpture as place,” as conceived of by artists such as Carl Andre and Richard Long.


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