PORN IN THE WOODS - DEVON DUNHILL CLAPP AT et al projects

By tackling taboo subject matter with an abject attitude, Devon Dunhill Clapp’s die weiße Schweinehund was an exciting way to end 2012. Clapp’s work is inspired by a dark side of the human experience. Internet dumping grounds like “space ghetto” and true horror stories from rides on the New York subway generate the imagery for his work. Francis Bacon was noted saying that he wanted his "...pictures to look as if a human being had passed between them, like a snail leaving its trail of the human presence....as a snail leaves its slime."  I liken this sensibility to Clapp's paintings which exist underneath the rock of culture where the worms hide away from the light.  He makes animals of us by exposing the things we do not wish to see and that which we try to forget. Clapp describes his work as evoking the same sensation as "stumbling upon pornographic magazines in the woods," and they are truly that unsettling and invigorating; we feel uncomfortable looking, yet cannot look away. It is also worth noting the cinematic nature of the work, many of the paintings feel like clippings from the climax of a film, as if there were moments in life where he stopped the frame to make a note when everyone else hid their faces in terror.  - Anthony Palocci Jr., Boston Contributor

G_TRAIN_FLUID_EXCHANGE
Devon Dunhill Clapp | G Train Fluid Exchange, 2012 oil on canvas, 84” X 60” Photo courtesy of et al projects
INSTALLATION_CLAPP
Installation | Photo courtesy of et al projects

Clapp’s brushwork is mostly thin and quick with washes of black, white and neon green over an orange ground.  There are only necessary gestures to this work, no fooling of the eye, the raw material as raw as the imagery, is there for us to see. The figures depicted in the work are ghost-like and fleeting, floating in the canvas on a bridge between fantasy and reality.  The sensuality and real artistry in his work is for me, within the paint itself.  Though there may be a hamburger helper in a toilet bowl, or a depiction of a crazy derelict on the G train, the materiality and sensitivity to touch remains a prominent feature in the paintings.  The blacks in Clapp’s paintings are never quite black.  The mixture of pigment and solvent is just so that the orange ground bleeds through the top layers of paint, unifying each work with what he would describe as “fluorescent brown." The cascading drips throughout the paintings read as tears, bile, vomit and drool, assigning the same phrase to different situations, developing trends and a point of reference.  His paintings from previous exhibitions were shown unstrechted and nailed to the wall on each corner with railroad spikes.  Here, we see the work moving on to a more finished state, stretched this time, and in a very effective manner.  Devon Dunhill Clapp's die weiße Schweinehund was on view through January 1, 2013 at et al projects in Brooklyn, NY. 

DIE_WEIßE_SCHWEINEHUND
Devon Dunhill Clapp | Die Weiße Scheinehund, 2012 oil on canvas, 32” X 37” Photo courtesy of et al projects
INSTALLATION_CLAPP2
Installation | Photo courtesy of et al projects

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Devon Dunhill Clapp graduated with an MFA from Pratt Institute in 2011.  He runs a blog called TACO GLOCK.  die weiße Schweinehund is his second show at et al projects.  He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. 

Anthony Palocci Jr. is an artist who lives and works in Boston, MA.  He received his MFA from Pratt Institute in 2012.  He has contributed to artcritical.com and New American Paintings.

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