VAGINAL DAVIS: AN INVITATION TO THE DANCE
SEPTEMBER 13–OCTOBER 20, 2018
OPENING RECEPTION: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 FROM 6–9 PM
TBA FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE: SASSAFRAS, CYPRESS & INDIGO—BLACK IMAGES AND THE (E)MOTIVE NOTION OF FREAKINESS
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th AT 6:30 PM
PORTLAND INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Adams and Ollman are pleased to announce An Invitation to the Dance, Vaginal Davis’ first solo exhibition in Portland, Oregon, on view at the gallery from September 13 through October 20, 2018. Davis’ exuberant work incorporates a variety of mediums including performance, music, paintings, sculpture, and film, all imbued with the artist’s uncompromising politics, resourcefulness, and humor. Included in the show will be an early video work and new makeup paintings along with a wall mural, marking the artist’s first time working in this format. On September 12, Ms. Davis will perform "Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo—Black Screen Images and the (e)motive Notion of Freakiness," a dramatic lecture co-presented by the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland Institute of Contemporary Art as part of the 2018 Time-Based Art Festival.
Central to An Invitation to the Dance is Davis’ 1995 film Voodoo Williamson, The Dona of Dance , a no-budget production filmed in her Los Angeles apartment and starring her friends and fellow artists. In this film, Davis plays the director of a modern dance troupe comprised of recovering addicts and runaways. With a firm but nurturing manner, she shelters and encourages them to pursue “the dance,” punctuating her lectures with a series of fabricated words and loaded phrases such as “uncooperative reproduction,” “thrillisity,” “fornicationasity,” and “purpisity” that become the mantras of the struggling dance company.
With the title of the exhibition, Davis, a scholar and archivist of early and obscure cinema and Hollywood history, nods to her Los Angeles roots and pays homage to Gene Kelly’s mid-century film of the same title, a box office failure whose story is told entirely through dance and mime. Hard times are tempered with play; throughout Davis’ short film, the dialogue revolves around struggle, poverty, and hardship. These are transcended, however, by a belief in the possibility of redemption, in this case through dance.
A selection of the artist’s intimately scaled paintings depicting dancers throughout history will be on view alongside the film. Davis conjures these portraits with a concoction of “cosmetics, beauty products, domestic household goods, witchcraft potions, elixirs and compounds.” Layers of expressive marks cover various found substrates—magazine pages, exhibition invitations, hotel stationery—as Davis deploys a painterly language of turbulent strokes, gestural lines, and smudgy wisps to form complex portraits of neglected historic figures always with an eye on feminist and queer traces
Image information: Vaginal Davis, Ann Reinking, 2018, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, coconut oil, perfume, water color pencil, eye shadow, rouge, foundation, nail enamel, lacquer, polish, Datura, Hamamelis Wasser, Mandrake, Henbane, hairspray and Iberogast on found paper, 8 3/4 x 6 1/2 inches.