Abigail DeVille, 2020
Abigail DeVille, 2020
About Abigail DeVille’s Installation
Inspired by the titular book of poetry by Langston Hughes, DeVille’s exhibition The Dream Keeper occurs in two parts: at The Sculpture Center (TSC) and in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, where Hughes resided as a teen. During a series of visits to the city, DeVille conducted extensive research into the material and cultural histories of the region, unearthing stories and re-weaving frayed narratives. Guided by the question, “Who are the dream keepers in Cleveland?” she explored Cleveland history from Indigeous times to the present, Native American tools, fossils, and local storytellers that have preserved factions of Cleveland culture and history.
At TSC’s Euclid Gallery she presents a labyrinthine installation of found materials that will serve as the backdrop for the results of her research, which include discoveries like the warren of salt mines below Lake Erie. Her outdoor installation at the Fairfax neighborhood’s Quincy Garden is a gathering of semi-figurative and abstract sculptures that references the tradition of African American yard art. Each figure carries the cast face of a member of the community, the storytellers helping to preserve the narrative of Cleveland.
About Abigail DeVille
Abigail DeVille was born in 1981 in New York, where she lives and works. Maintaining a long-standing interest in marginalized people and places, DeVille creates site-specific immersive installations designed to bring attention to these forgotten stories, such as with the sculpture she built on the site of a former African American burial ground in Harlem.
Read more about Abigail DeVille here.
Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows embraces art as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. The title is an homage to the 1957 poem “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams” by Langston Hughes, who moved to Cleveland in his childhood and maintained an artistic connection to the region. Spanning over twenty sites in Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin, the exhibition bears witness to the region’s past and present scars, from the environmental degradation caused by industrial production to police violence and urban fracture. Yet alongside interlocking public and personal crises, healing is contemporary Cleveland’s biggest industry.
Launched in 2018, FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is a free, public, contemporary art exhibition comprising artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs. Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, the second iteration of FRONT International will run from July 16 through October 2, 2022. Building on the success of the first edition, FRONT 2022 furthers the Triennial’s commitment to the belief that by supporting creative communities and stimulating new cultural encounters in the region, contemporary art can be an important catalyst for positive social change.