Untitled, watercolors and graphite on masonite, 6 x 6 inches.
Courtesy of the artist.
Works of Mae Alphonse Dessauvage are concerned with re-interpreting
and cartooning iconographic imagery from Byzantine icon painting to
Enlightenment architecture. Through abstraction, these origins are rendered
ambiguous and the imagery acquires a new contemporary meaning. Rather than investigating
those images based on historicism, Dessauvage delves into their presence in a
collective memory today.
Through their paintings, Untitled and Figure series, Dessauvage explores
the psychological dimension that exists between the figures and the objects,
depicting an endeavor at deciphering forms lost in time. Each figure in the series is presented at
a table, investigating a single object in front of them. These
works reflect a lineage to early Byzantine and Renaissance icon painting of
singular saints with signifying objects.
However, instead of the object being a signifier for the figure as
in icon painting, here the object is
presented as external and foreign to its subject. This perplexing encounter
between subject and object occurs again when the viewer encounters Dessauvage’s
sculptural objects that also appear in
their paintings. The paintings with figures, then, operate as a mirroring of the visitor’s investigation of the sculptural objects.
In this exhibition, Figures
and Objects, the artist created an immersive experience in the space to promote
a reflexive relationship between subject and object, viewer and iconography,
and even further, a viewer and its audience.
Mae Alphonse Dessauvage is a Belgian painter who currently
lives and works in New York, NY and Cambridge, MA. Dessauvage received their B.A.
in 2017 from Columbia University and is currently completing their M. Arch from
Harvard University. While at Columbia University, they exhibited their work in
student shows as well as in New York galleries, such as the Williamsburg Art
& Historical Center, Site: Brooklyn, Van der Plas and Jankossen gallery.
Their work was a finalist at the Japan Art Olympia competition and is in the
permanent collection at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center. They have most recently participated in exhibitions at Madison Park gallery and Kirkland
This exhibit was curated and prepared by BAAA Gallery. Graphic works are done by BAAA BOOKS, the gallery’s in-house design studio founded to serve artists with photo/video documentation, poster, catalog, book, and exhibition design.