Figures and Objects

Mae Alphonse Dessauvage
March 30 - April 27, 2019

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 Gallery.


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. 

︎ madessauvage

Mae Alphonse Dessauvage
Saturday, March 30, 2:00-5:00pm