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

A round-up of the best shows in the Spanish capital ahead of this year's edition of ARCO, which opens tomorrow
The relevance today of Arthur Evans’s Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture
Opening tomorrow, Wolfgang Tillmans's major retrospective at Tate Modern shows an artist coming full circle
As Trump casts his shadow over the city, the art world has found ways to respond
Following this year's edition of Art Rotterdam, Laurie Cluitmans rounds-up the best shows in the city
The Showroom, London, UK
The derelict Croydon airport, Batman as a sainted figure, and a potential new work: a road movie going nowhere
The fourth edition sees Saudi artists delivering work that is unfettered, brave and relevant
The new director of London's ICA discusses rebuilding, restructuring and the integrity of culture
From Umberto Eco on fascism to Thomas Pynchon’s stand-in: what to read this weekend
Hockney’s masthead for The Sun and ways to make the bubble bigger: a cultural report from the capital
In the studio with Pedro Friedeberg, the last of Mexico’s Surrealists
Included in CTM Festival in Berlin, musician Guillermo Galindo discusses the instruments he builds from the discarded...
A round-up of the best shows in the city, ahead of this year's Zona Maco, which runs from 8 – 12...
Hauser & Wirth, London, UK
Various venues, Madrid, Spain
Ahead of Artgenève this week, a round-up of the best shows in the Swiss city

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

Nov - Dec 2016

frieze magazine

Jan - Feb 2017

frieze magazine

March 2017