Don Soker Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Victoria May "Maintenance and Operations". an exhibition from March 2 - April 13.
The opening reception is Saturday, March 2, 4-7pm. Artist talk 6 pm.
Maintenance and Operations continues May's fascination with industrial functionality. Sculptural installations made primarily of fabric and steel call attention to hidden yet ubiquitous infrastructures designed for maintenance, conveyance or protection. The works emphasize the mysterious beauty in systems contrived purely for utility, such as circuit patterns and conduit pathways.
The work was started at the Jentel residency in Wyoming in the summer of 2012. Inspired by the Wyoming geology as well as the markers of industry seen in the landscape on the drive there, May infuses her structures with references to geological strata, attempting to draw a connection to the raw resources that all technological innovations have ultimately come from. She aims to find humor and tenderness in the sometimes randomly customized structures she refers to, as well as in her own labor in emulating them out of fabric.
A cargo net is piled high with an eccentric assortment of blankets and sacks, hinting at geological strata, but also social strata. Fabricated boxes with surfaces of earth- and rust-stained canvas are detailed with embroidery thread and wire. These in combination with silk-covered cords create a puzzling conduit network. Grids of steel panels are densely layered with subtly toned burlap, cheesecloth and silk hinting at some kind of filtration device. A blanket with embedded circuitry hovers between comforting and menacing.
May's employment of organic treatments, using dirt and rust on silk and canvas, subverts the authority of institutional systems and exposes a softness, even frailty, in the calculated infrastructures that our society has come to depend on.
Susan O'Malley says of her work: "In presenting her assemblages, objects and architectural interventions, May seems to be winking at us and saying isn’t all of this so wonderfully beautiful and strange? Vibrating between vulnerability and strength; darkness and light; or femininity and masculinity; the works ultimately speak to the tender predicament of the human condition."
May, a recipient of a Rydell Visual Arts fellowship for 2010-11, has been featured on KQED's "Spark" show on the arts. Her work has also been featured in the Princeton Architectural Press publication "By Hand". Her objects and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally. She lives and teaches in the Monterey Bay area. This is her 3rd solo exhibition at Don Soker Contemporary Art.