Davina Semo makes sculpture that is shaped by questions about self-awareness and relationships in a world of hustle, desire, isolation, technology, speed, survival, discipline and love. Using concrete, glass, and metal, Semo has developed a formal syntax that is imbued with narrative. In her hands, these materials suggest autobiography; they become emblems of power and control between populations, lovers and enemies. Emphasized by her distinctive titles, the artist employs poetics as pneumatics—in ating Minimalism’s deliberate remove with a rugged humanity.
There is an appealing slippage between sculpture and practices of painting, drawing and writing. Concrete works, their surfaces hacked and molded into the impression of a thick impasto, are emblazoned with a range of emotive colors, forcing an oscillation between the heft of the material and the pure ecstatic painterly surface. Large scaffolding Xs, elegantly re-engineered in brass, cut slender paths across the walls and oor creating a sculptural line that forces architecture into complicity. Etched one-way mirrors reference modes of gestural abstraction and imply fencing architectures of surveillance and exclusion, while simultaneously implicating the viewer’s re ection alongside the distorted re ections of nearby works.
As a method of unifying discrete works into a cohesive installation, Semo focuses on small but critical details by designing hardware and plinths that belie the rough affect of the work. Multi- part sculptures are slung like old sneakers over systems of poles that bisect the space, continually bringing the implications of street life to bear on the rare ed sanctum of the gallery. In tone and material alike, both toughness and grace are bound in a perpetual, mutually reinforcing exchange.