Devening Projects is very pleased to invite you to Beret Debt, Kevin McNamee-Tweed’s first exhibition with the gallery as well as his first in Chicago. Currently based in Iowa City, Kevin has lived and worked in Austin and was raised in North Carolina. The exhibition opens with a reception for Kevin on Sunday, January 13th from 4 – 7 pm and will continue until February 16th.
The recent work on view in Beret Debt, Kevin McNamee-Tweed’s first solo exhibition in Chicago, features a selection of glazed ceramics accompanied by work on wood, canvas, and graphite drawings on mulberry paper. A variety of framing and shelving apparatuses situate the image-based pieces on the walls while the floor is activated by a series of glazed stoneware arrangements. A visual language emerges from formal and material exploration to establish dialogue with the two-dimensional, pictorial pieces. The non-pictorial objects, some of which are functional hanging devices, are conceived and constructed with aesthetic sensibility commensurate with image-based objects. The exhibition embraces the arbitrary boundaries between what is abstract, what is functional, and what is representational.
All objects and arrangements in the space both articulate and obfuscate their own meaning, narrative, and material construction. Rather than full narrative arcs or clean linear logic, an aggregate emotional resonance suggests more basic facts about existing physically and hints at the complexity in perceiving and understanding the material world. The exhibition endeavors to offer rich, specific, and acute encounters with what is obtuse, and, concurrently render vagueness with extreme tenderness and specificity.
In the drawings and paintings (the stoneware slabs may be considered paintings), vignettes and still lives carry a sense of emotional intimacy as well as humorous universality. Minced with colloquial and art-historical imagery, the fragmented narratives present visceral realities inhabitable by personal histories as well as grandiose cliché. As the scenes with vaguely identifiable figures and truncated stories hold forth some dramatic energy, the abstract pieces operate in dramatic terms more corporeal in nature. Just as some of the imagery in Beret Debt engenders itself to one visual history or another, the clay compositions, many of which take irregular shapes, participate in the histories of modern, abstract, or decorative arts. The pursuits of object-making and image-making conspire in Kevin McNamee-Tweed’s project to make impossible articulations, non-verbal iterations, and ample opportunities for engagement with visible and non-visible omnipotent beauty.
Raised in North Carolina, Kevin McNamee-Tweed received a BFA from New York University in 2008 and will receive an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa in 2019 and 2020. His work has been exhibited internationally, ranging from installations and visual art to handmade books and widely distributed publications. Recent projects include solo exhibitions at Rod Barton (London), The Still House Group (New York) and The Menil Collection Bookstore (Houston). Forthcoming projects include solo exhibitions at Eduardo Secci (Florence, Italy) and Steve Turner (Los Angeles), a group show at Harper’s Books (New York), a curatorial project at Big Medium (Austin), and a publication of drawings with Terry Bleu Publishing (Amsterdam, Holland). He is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including the 2018 Willhelm and Jane Bodine Fellowship, the 2017 Iowa Arts Fellowship, the 2016 Montello Foundation Fellowship, the 2017 Bay Space Artist in Residence, and awards for Best Solo Exhibition of 2012, Best Exhibition Curation 2015, and Best Work of Art in 2014 from the Austin Critics Table in Texas. He currently lives and works in Iowa City, Iowa.