Virginia Overton

freymond-guth Ltd. fine ARTS

VO_detail_web.jpg

Virginia Overton, 16 Mudflap Girls (360°), 2011, Detail

Virgnia Overton, 16 Mudflap Girls (360°), 2011, Detail

Virginia Overton’s means of engagement with the physicality of materials – particularly their suspense, weight and gravity – places her firmly in the current generation of sculptors, yet her strategies for displacement and negotiation are unusually intricate.
The American artist’s first exhibition in Switzerland contained three main pieces, each shown on its own in a separate space. In the narrow entrance area, the artist nonchalantly leant four wooden planks against the wall (Untitled, all works 2011) and turned these finds from a Zurich building site into elegantly spare and, ironically, rather feminine sculptures by dint of a light bulb attached to the top of three of them. If it hadn’t been for the trailing electrical wire, peeling paint and worn surface of the wood, the installation might have been mistaken in formal terms for a DIY imitation of John McCracken’s Minimalist sculptures.

Another plank – this time painted yellow – formed the lynchpin of the second installation, which almost filled the smaller of the two gallery spaces. Untitled (Zurich) was created from objects salvaged in the area surrounding the gallery and is therefore a kind of indirect portrait. The plank – suspended by a single rope from the ceiling – hung horizontally in the middle of the room; insulation foam covered one end while a glass carafe, half-filled with water, sat near the middle. In this precarious balancing act, the plank could have rotated and the carafe fallen down at any moment. The small size of the room forced viewers to move carefully around the work, which blocked and disorientated. The room, its occupants and the yellow paint were reflected in the carafe’s glass surface, thus producing a shifting microcosm of the whole.

In the main space, Overton surprised with an installation as clean-cut and graphic as the first two works were raw and physically confrontational. Appropriating the cartoon-like girl familiar throughout the USA as an adornment for truck mudflaps, the artist repeated a near life-size, black cut-out version in a frieze along the base of all four walls. 16 Mudflap girls (360°) – each of the 16 girls rotated a few degrees further than the previous, like a cinematic somersault – seems to free the figure from her frozen position. At first glance, this work looks aesthetically very different from Untitled and Untitled (Zurich). Yet all of these works deftly change one’s perception of the space as much as drawing attention to themselves.

Issue 1

First published in Issue 1

Summer 2011

Most Read

Ahead of Berlin Gallery Weekend, a guide to what to see across the German capital
Ahead of Art Cologne this week, a guide to the best current shows in the city
A fresh dispute over the estate of Vivian Maier; Chris Ofili is made a CBE
Theaster Gates & The Black Monks of Mississippi’s latest project for IHME Festival, Helsinki
Barkley L. Hendricks has died; the Tate faces a lawsuit from its neighbours

From Egyptian surrealism to Parisian pissoirs: what to read this weekend
On the 2017 Jamaica Biennial and its attempts to confront the role of misogyny in Jamaican popular culture
Jan Bonny and Alex Wissel’s new film project, ‘Rheingold’, sends up the ethical superiority of art making versus...
Jason Rhoades, My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage..., 2004, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy: Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, The Estate of Jason Rhoades and David Zwirner; photograph: Fredrik Nilsen
Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles, USA
Ahead of Art Brussels opening this week, a guide to the best shows around town
Recently awarded a USA Artist Fellowship, Lynn Hershman Leeson speaks about cultural technologies, personal narratives...
Cosey Fanni Tutti talks to Paul Clinton about feminism, freedom and the politics of the personal
David Zwirner, New York
A guide to the best of the current and soon-to-open shows in London
The final part in a series of our editors’ initial impressions from documenta 14 Athens, Amy Sherlock on the fourth and...
A survey of more than 50 respondents from over 30 countries

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

Jan - Feb 2017

frieze magazine

March 2017

frieze magazine

April 2017