paul mcdevitt

13 October 2004 - 13 November 2004
Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present new work by British artist Paul McDevitt.

McDevitt's intricate pencil drawings suggest a lost or undiscovered world. His subject matter is derived primarily from 1950s European cultural magazines as well as the artist's own photographs. Much of McDevitt's imagery focuses on anonymous graphic design. This ranges from the commercial styling of old publications to the municipal murals and street graffiti of Europe.

In McDevitt's drawings, graphic images are fused with elements of architecture and landscape. Graffiti trapped in icebergs imply a transmigration of styles, culture, and language. Flamboyant automobile decals are displaced in atmospheric skies - a mundane addition to epic surroundings. Sprayed tags compete with the stained glass images of civic buildings. Representations of flightless birds, such as penguins and chickens from journals of the space-race era, are superimposed on architectural structures. Animals take the place of people in McDevitt's drawings of deserted locations and transient gestures are given a permanent position.

Cosmic scenes are often part of McDevitt's vision, bringing to mind both 1960s psychedelic culture and 1990s rave music. This depiction of extreme and chaotic phenomena also appears in the artist's consistently 'unstill' still-lives. Fireworks replace flowers, lightening tears through otherwise quiet scenes and imagery appears to be plundered rather than arranged. In all of McDevitt's drawings, the viewer's attention is drawn to the subjects and issues that construct our social fabric. However, it is the displacement of these elements into a unique visual panorama that produces such ominous, compelling and intensely alluring works.