“This market way of life promotes addictions to stimulation and obsessions with comfort and convenience. Addictions and obsessions – centered primarily around bodily pleasures and status rankings – constitute market moralities of various sorts.” â€“Cornel West, Race Matters.
Abigail D. DeVille’s series of bricolage sculptures entitled “Universal Diagrams of Discourse” are based upon the writings of Cornel West. DeVille gives form to West’s ideas within a pictorial format that highlights issues of contemporary history, and current concerns within American society. The work is layered, dense and loaded with imagery. DeVille is interested in a vision of excess. Each composition mirrors the complexity of the black image in the US. DeVille’s sculptures address an interwoven racial subtext that highlight enduring racial tensions. These tensions are articulated in a series of sculptures that parody the idea of what constitutes blackness in America. Through the use of big noses, gold teeth, fat booties, big lips and fetishistic ideals, DeVille engenders a consideration of what black is within a larger historical framework. DeVille’s ambition as an artist is to make visible the toxic and inauthentic society in which we are enmeshed, and re-represent this wild, intense and glorious vision in concrete form.
Deville works with ideas borrowed from set theory, and is particularly interested in the notion of the “Universe of Discourse” that includes all things that are under discussion at a given time. Using the image of the Venn diagram: a rectangle comprised of all possible logical relations, Deville’s projects pose a consideration of the manifold problems within American society by tying together threads of influence ranging from African sculpture, textiles, biology, popular culture, the artist’s grandmother, and the decay of social structures found within urban centers across America.