Last month 500X Gallery opened three new solo exhibitions with works by Scott Bell, Jer’Lisa Devezin, and Narong Tintamusik.
Each artist drew from their own personal experiences to create the intimate works on view at the artist-run gallery. The result: an eclectic group of shows. Here’s a look at them:
“Makin’ Groceries” is a phrase they say in New Orleans and is the title of the installation by interdisciplinary artist Jer’Lisa Devezin. Devezin used her childhood memory of “makin’ groceries” as inspiration for her work at 500x’s project space.
Devezin grew up with her single mother in New Orleans. She described the act of buying groceries as a process rather than a simple chore. Money had to be carefully managed, plans had to be made to get to the store, and to get back from the store, and then groceries had to be transported.
The entire work is created from found objects. Devezin found a grocery cart abandoned at the dumpster next to her apartment complex.
“Somebody literally took the shopping cart and brought their stuff home but they were walking. Even when you think about homeless people, you know a shopping cart is where all this stuff resides. That’s their transportation. That’s their storage space. That’s their vehicle.”
“The piece is less about buying food and it’s more about like the experience of living in the inner city and urban neighborhood and having accessibility to certain resources.”
Devezin painted the cart gold and filled it with bundles of stuffed Crown Royal bags. Then she took the opportunity to play with the project space. She turned the cart upside down and suspended it from the ceiling. By raising the work and changing the perspective it forces the viewer to look up at the work rather than looking straight on or down at it.
Devezin sees the work more as celebrating resourcefulness and making do, and a representation of a black aesthetic.
Visual artist Scott Bell is a relative newcomer to Texas. His show at 500x is called “Not Listening.”
“Basically, my artwork is about focus and distraction. What’s distracting us from the important issues,” said Bell. “So not listening when you’re having a conversation with somebody and you’re looking at your phone or staring off into space and you’re just not listening. It’s like you’re just somewhere else.”
But Bell does not come out and say distractions are bad. “Even painting in it of itself, for me, is a focus and a distraction because it’s something good that I can focus my energy on. It helps me, you know, meditate or get into a certain mind space. But it also distracts me from unpleasant things. All the stuff in the world that I don’t want to see or think about at that point.”
Artist and 500x member Narong Tintamusik’s multi-media show is called “They Die Only to be Reborn Again.” Tintamusik is Asian-American and is influenced by Buddhism and Thai folklore. He believes that things have no start or endpoint but are continuous. Tintamusik’s work is also influenced by his personal experience as a sexual abuse survivor and his belief that childhood trauma, like reincarnation, is cyclical.
“It kind of changes forms. It comes into dormancy and also like in an active state so it doesn’t always affect you like every single minute or second but it comes into different phases of your life. So the title of my show draws on that. Things die but come back again at some time later in your life.”
In his work, Tintamusik explores intimacy, trauma, innocence, innocence lost, and the supernatural. His subjects appear to be disproportionate and stunted, often set in natural settings. Bugs and insects flying around like tiny spirits.
“My work has been part art, part healing, part psychoanalysis. It has been transformative for me and it has given me a step forward into the future with a much happier life.”
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