Devin Troy Strother
Front, Back, Side to Side
September 8, 2012 – November 3, 2012

Richard Heller Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave., B-5A
Santa Monica, CA 90404

The title of the show, “Front, Back, Side to Side,” is derived from the first-half of a lyric by the rapper Ice Cube. The lyric appears during the chorus of the song, referencing the movements that a hydraulic car, also know as a Lowrider, can be programmed to make. The frame of the car will literally lift up and begin to rock from left to right and side to side. After revisiting the song, Strother found it interesting to shift the meaning to discuss a type of formal movement through a painting. To look at the front and the back of the painting was like viewing from top to bottom. Side to side automatically made him think of looking from left to right. Strother then started to compare this idea with an exploration of a “style,” “process,” or “mode” of painting. How is a painter expected to move through ideas, materials, themes and genres while maintaining an underlying congruency? Staying the same while changing.
Strother is interested in the building of several different dialogues: A dialogue with the viewer and contemporaries, with the history of painting, with the exploration of materials, and with narrative and movement. This show and its title try to showcase what this movement looks like formally as Strother moves through different “modes” and “styles” within the realm of painting and sculpture.

In the past, Strother had an ambiguous relationship with performance art. He felt that performance art was an obscure, avant-garde, and inaccessible art form that tested boundaries that he had no interest in testing. So much of performance art lives through the documentation. In the last year, however, Strother became increasingly interested in photos documenting certain art historical performances. While combing through hundreds of photos from happenings, and in viewing videos of full-scale productions, he noticed that almost all of the performances of interest were performed by white people. Strother thought that it would be informative to recreate the performances within the confines of a picture plane, and also substitute all the original participants with black people.

Devin Troy Strother That’s my gurrrl Quiesha, 2012
48 x 68 x 11.5 Inches , Aluminum, automotive finish

Devin Troy Strother Diana Ross and the Supremes on Board the Technicolor Slave Ship,
(Gurrrrl we Goin’ Home), 2012
48 x 72 Inches , acrylic, paper, glitter and mixed medium on rosewood panel

Devin Troy Strother Contemporary African Compositional Arrangements /
Guuuuuurrrrrlllll, Hallelujah Hallelujah, “I told you it was all about space relations and limitations” said Shay Shay to Sha’naynay, 2012
60 x 84 Inches , Acrylic, paper, wood, glass and mixed medium on linen

Devin Troy Strother That’s my gurrrl Quiesha, 2012
48 x 68 x 11.5 Inches , Aluminum, automotive finish