Reyes | Finn is pleased to present Sail, the gallery’s third solo presentation of work by artist Maya Stovall, on view from April 16–May 28, 2022. On the heels of Stovall’s solo presentation with Reyes | Finn at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021—both the artist’s and the gallery’s debut at the leading international art fair—Stovall will present five new, large-scale works from her ongoing neon sculpture series, A____that defies gravity (2019–), continuing her investigation into space, time, cognition, and materiality, through the distillation of these formidable categories into the sleek minimal tubes of neon lights.
A____that defies gravity reveals abstraction as urgent within the artist’s analytically dense practice. The varied colorways of glowing neon communicate spatial relationships through the segmentation of light, and mathematic, rhythmic transition of color and form. Throughout the series this dynamic minimalism intentionally provides the viewer space for interpretation and introspection. Concurrent Neon Theatre series (not exhibited in Sail) include: 1526 (NASDAQ: FAANG) and 3998 (NASDAQ: FAANG). Each series documents critical moments in human history, represented as numerical years illuminated in neon. Across thousands of years and into the future, Neon Theatre inverts global representations of ownership, entrepreneurship, and authority. Accompanying postcards render brief historical and/or archival details through language. The scope of the project invites the viewer to reevaluate ideas of romanticized history, cognition, and anthropology in relation to the contemporary.
By design, each elegant, linear composition in the A____that defies gravity series evades direct recognition and simultaneously provokes a multitude of algorithmic and structural associations. “In the work, the concept is considered after theory and after abstraction, such that the concept, object, subject, thing etc is able to defy gravity itself” says the artist.
Pursuing this move through her conceptual minimalist framework, she reflects on Adrian Piper’s essay, A Defense of the “Conceptual” Process in Art (1967) and Sol Lewitt’s essay, Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967), in which Piper writes that ideas are ultimately intuition and Lewitt writes that successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable. “Like the seamlessness of the computer graphics Apple symbol and the name of Apple Inc., there is something inevitable about Neon Theatre,” the artist writes. To Stovall, place, space, and time are complex constructs requiring a critical and contrarian analysis. Such an analysis is reflected across the artist’s bodies of work. In relentlessly searching out contradictions to both investigate and to impose within her work, the contradiction of abstraction becomes stunning, sensual, and compelling amidst the density of the concept, and the work of Sail is the result.
MAYA STOVALL (b.1982 Detroit, MI) lives and works in Southern California. Stovall holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, a M.B.A. from The University of Chicago, and a B.B.A. from Howard University in Washington D.C. Recent solo exhibitions include: Reason/Razón at the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston (2022); A something = x, Parrasch Heijnen, Los Angeles (2021); LUX at White Columns, New York (2020); Machine at Reyes | Finn, Detroit (2019); and Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films at the Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI (2018.) Stovall’s work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and is included in the permanent collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and Cranbrook Art Museum. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Atlanta Contemporary, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.