Marlborough is proud to present a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist, Devin Troy Strother. I Just Landed in Rome presents large-scale sculptures of the black female characters that occupy many of Strother’s paintings. Their poses take a cue from art history — mimicking Renaissance paintings and classical Roman statues. Silhouettes finished with diminutive eyes and mouths on their petite heads are contrasted by an overall sleek, black surface painted with automotive finish. Their poses are vibrant, and evoke movement, life and sass. Strother’s elaborate titles fill in clues for the greater narrative of his work. Combined, they make up a story, one that is hilarious, outrageous and at times uncomfortable. The artist brings forth slang in a way that is funny, contemporary and quite commonplace, but also one that questions the acceptance of such language in daily conversations.
The title of the exhibition most simply comes from a Jay-Z lyric, but more pointedly explores Strother’s view of the monumental sculptures he has created. The female characters began, in earlier works, as small paper cut outs. The women (some naked, some with dresses made of glitter) danced through the canvases, appeared in absurd scenarios and even graced the scenes of well-known modern and contemporary paintings (those of Henri Matisse, David Hockney, Lynda Benglis and Tracy Emin, for example).
Now, they are on their own: freestanding and oversized, yet paired down to their most basic contour. Together, the sculptures create a larger than life scene reminiscent of the ones portrayed within the artist’s paintings. In the way that Rome took a lifetime to be built, destroyed and rebuilt, carrying it’s glory, these sculptures reflect Strother’s next step into a wider world, combining the form and narrative of the artist’s dialogue in an expanded context.
Devin Troy Strother was born in 1986 in West Covina, CA and received his BFA from Art Center College of Art and Design, Pasadena, CA.
Recent solo shows include Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Bendixen Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been in group exhibitions at the Bleecker Street Arts Club, New York, NY; Josee Bienvenu Gallery, New York, NY; Simon Cole Gallery, Toronto, Canada; Pepin Moore, Los Angeles, CA; Harlem Studio Museum, New York, NY and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.