SoVA alumnus Devan Shimoyama's (B.F.A. 2011) first New York City solo exhibition will be on display at Lesley Heller Workspace May 25 - July 9. Primarily using self-portraiture and narratives reminiscent of classical mythology and allegory, Shimoyama proposes a new, queer, black, male creation myth. Shimoyama seeks to re-imagine this male body as something both desirous and desirable. His paintings explore the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality, and set the stage for an ethereal exploration to unfold.
Possessing an otherworldly yet familiar quality, Shimoyama’s poses and imagery have a reminiscence of the canons of old masters such as Caravaggio and Goya, though they are undeniably present, with a 21st century sensibility and expression. Using the tactility of thickly poured and splattered paint, luminous sprayed stencils, effervescent black glitter, rhinestones, and sequins, Shimoyama creates silhouettes of figures that exist as wholly magical, yet universally human.
"SoVA's drawing and painting faculty provided me with an exceptionally strong foundation in terms of my work ethic and awareness of how to situate myself within the contemporary art world as well as within an art historical context," Shimoyama said of his time at Penn State SoVA. "SoVA is a rare place in which a student can cultivate unparalleled bonds with both students and faculty. I often think back to when one painting faculty member asked me if I truly and passionately wanted to pursue a career in art. After ardently answering in the positive, I then was constantly challenged and pushed to become better. The faculty really cares and continues to stay in touch, endlessly supportive of their students and alumni.
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