Aicon Contemporary is pleased to present From the Inside, a solo exhibition featuring recent works by visual artist Marcy Chevali.
Repetition and accumulation serve as common threads throughout Chevali’s work. These principles allow the artist to mold and shape her signature webs and intricate markings in glass, yarn, pencil, and wire. Each of these materials, although possessing different properties, are treated with the same philosophy. Chevali’s practice does not oppose an association with women’s work but instead welcomes it, reinterpreting the fragility attributed to femininity as a strength. For the artist, the repetitive nature of knitting, sewing, and weaving are regarded as meditative practices. These motions occupy the hands and allow the mind to wander. Much like other household chores -- folding laundry, peeling garlic--, these repetitive actions culminate in thought that is elusive yet profound.
The artist creates her sculptures by melting glass rods together, devising intricate structures comprised of interlaced, linear forms. The rhythmic process can be compared to knitting and weaving, employing repetitive and somewhat obsessive gestures. Although seemingly expressionless and quiet, these small movements have a presence. Contrary to knitting needles, it is fire that precisely melts and shapes the glass. It is through these repetitive, small movements that something larger is built; the object accumulates until it demands to be seen and acknowledged. Chevali explains, “repetition creates the illusion or the possibility of the infinite,” divulging the timelessness instilled in these works.
In her Circumference drawings, Chevali takes a literal approach to drawing in space by laying down on paper, in a fetal position, and drawing around her body. Initially created in on the shore, the artist lies curled up, reaching out her arms and creates markings to show where she isn’t, therefore leaving the space her body occupies empty. The restful fetal position is juxtaposed with the quick, frantic, stretched movements used to create these markings. What results is the shape created for and by her body. The title, Circumference, references the peripheries and boundaries between her internal body and the outside world on a physical and psychological level.
Chevali began her wire installation at the start of the pandemic to serve as a form of relaxation and calm during a tumultuous and challenging period. Unlike knitting with yarn, as the piece grew it did not provide the warmth comfort expected of traditional knitted work. Instead, the rigid wire embodied a force that yarn does not have. Furthermore, Chevali’s glass and wire forms suggest nets and reference their disparate associations and use. While safety nets provide assurance and relief, fishing nets threaten and trap. The artist writes, “The actual object is paradoxical as it mimics something that is caught, a fish, a bird, water or liquid, as well as the net or catching device itself. Landscapes, waterscapes, body organs, sea creatures. Their abstracted quality makes it possible that they could stand in for things not visible or tangible. These sculptures, like our landscape, are fragile and breakable.”
Marcy Chevali’s work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Chevali was born in Cleveland, OH. She has a BFA from the University of Ohio, and an MFA from the Maine College of Art. The artist lives and works in New York City.