Sam Messenger: Six Veils
November 14 – December 22, 2011
Opening Reception: Tuesday, November 15th, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Davidson Contemporary presents Six Veils, a new exhibition by Sam Messenger. Six Veils is Messenger’s second solo exhibition at Davidson Contemporary and features six large works on paper created by Messenger over the course of several months in Chamonix, France.
The Veils appear as white ink lines on black ink-washed paper. As the white lines seem to breathe and stretch across the paper like netting, the black and grey background of the ink wash emerges through the barely noticed pattern. The effect is simultaneously soothing yet vertiginous, as though the thin web were the only thing keeping the viewer from tumbling into a void.
The pattern of the white ink is based on naturally occurring mathematical formulae. In a vacuum, those algorithms would produce ideal lines and shapes. However, in the hands of the artist, errors are elicited from Messenger’s pen, creating a matrix that is tactile in its depth – a feeling that is heightened with great efficacy by the retreating expanse of the background.
Messenger has become renowned not only for his ability as a draftsman, but for his execution of obsessive compulsive concepts that unfold on the paper in boggling displays of patience and control to illustrate just how little control we really have. Previous Veils by Messenger have been in collections of the Williams College Museum of Art, Museum of Art RISD, and shown at the Norton Museum’s 2010-2011 Now WHAT? exhibition.
Messenger was born in London in 1980. He received his M.A. at the Royal College of Art, where he was awarded the Parallel Prize in 2005. He works mainly in pen & ink on paper, exploring combinations of repetition, geometry, and direct observation.