September 10 – November 5, 2022
New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Southern Indiana is proud to present Revelations featuring installation, sculpture, textile, and video works by Chicago-based artist Cass Davis. Incorporating familiar rural materials such as corn and hay and spaces like the tent revival, roadside billboard, and town parade, Davis investigates American mythologies, spiritual euphoria, and queer realities—as well as their own small-town, Midwestern roots.
Revelations runs from September 10 – November 5, 2022, opening with a reception on Saturday, September 10 from 4 – 6 pm CT, in conjunction with September’s New Harmony Second Saturday. An artist’s talk will be held in Kleymeyer Hall (LA 0101) on University of Southern Indiana’s main campus on Friday, September 9 at 3 pm CT. New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art’s open hours are Tuesday – Saturdays, 10 am – 5 pm CT.
In this solo exhibition featuring new and existing work, Cass Davis exhumes collective and personal histories and questions perceptions of history—an excavation of Small Town America. Titling the show after the final apocalyptic Biblical book, Davis explores a multiplicity of transformational experiences, or Revelations. Conversing with the roots of Evangelicalism, whiteness, their own Midwestern upbringing in the church, and New Harmony’s “utopian” attempts, Davis’s work seeks to ask the question, What is to be revived and what is to be dismantled?. Revelations implies the removal of the veil—a revelation of truth.
The installation, sculptural, and textile works in Revelations utilize the textures and imagery of rural landscapes. Hand-woven Jacquard textiles featuring archival images of 1920s Appalachian revivals; the 1908 Springfield, IL Race Riot; and the artist’s own family photos allow for a revisitation of complex histories. Hay bales sourced from local farms, natural materials, and roadside architecture evoke a sense of familiarity and curiosity, and conjure the memory embedded in the land.
Revelations embodies the duality of tragedy and ecstasy found in the human search for transcendence. Sifting through archival materials, Davis seeks to uncover what has been hidden. “How can we alter our perceptions of history? What if we recognize that the oppressed past is non-linear; that history remains alive in the present?” Davis states, “Perhaps we can recognize that the ghosts that haunt our lives are speaking to us from the past—that through acknowledging their presence, we may find a place to address our history with honesty and find a path to healing.”
Cass Davis is a Chicago-based artist with an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). Their solo shows include Out of Time at Engage Projects, HEARTLAND at G-CADD St. Louis, No Body on Earth But Yours with the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Of Roses and Jessamine at SITE gallery, Chicago. Davis has shown in group exhibitions and screenings at the Design Museum Chicago, IL, Bemis Center in Omaha, NE, York St. John University, UK, Tile Blush in Miami, FL, The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The American Medium in NYC, UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Springfield, IL, Terrain Biennial Oak Park and Springfield, IL, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Chicago Artist’s Coalition, 062 Gallery, Sullivan Galleries, and the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery, Utah. They have been awarded the Praxis Fiber Arts Residency, HATCH Residency, Oxbow Artist's MFA Residency, Roger Brown Artist's Residency, IOTO Residency, and the Shapiro Center Eager Research Grant. They have been lecturing faculty in Fiber and Material Studies department at SAIC.
New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art at University of Southern Indiana promotes discourse about and access to contemporary art in the southern Indiana region. New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is a proud outreach partner of the University of Southern Indiana. nhgallery.com
Image: Cass Davis By the Blood of the Lamb (detail), 2022. Hand-woven jacquard wool textile. 42 x 52 in.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.