NEW YORK, NY.- Sargents Daughters
is presenting Out of Body, the first solo presentation of the work of Victoria Dugger, an MFA candidate at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. The exhibition will include paintings, mixed media works, and sculptures made by the artist during the past year. Working across these forms, Dugger produces objects that blur accepted categories, exploring novel modes of self-expression and embodiment.
Out of Body includes a series of self-portraits in which the artist dissects her identity as a Black, disabled woman through a blend of playful imagery and grotesque forms. As she wrote in a recent essay, Its easy to be overlooked when you dont have a seat at the table, but thankfully I always bring my own chair. As a disabled Black woman, I have a desire for people to accept or appreciate me for both my surface and whats below it; to humanize me not because of my appearance, but despite it. These paintings channel the complexity of the artists identity through bold colors, sly references to art history, fractured patterns, and overflowing viscera. The surface of the works is thus richly layered, both demanding attention and refusing any simple legibility.
Also included in the exhibition are four soft sculptures by Dugger, each seated on an antique garden chair. Their long, lumpy limbs are adorned with pearls, sparkles, colorful braids, and other markers of exuberant femininity. These anthropomorphic figures are another way for the artist to visualize her own body. Their irregular extremities are intended to express a state of atrophy, a wasting away of muscles, which is a symptom of many physical disabilities. And yet, Dugger renders them joyful and beautiful, reclining and covered in gems.
This sort of ambivalence is a core theme in Duggers work. Her figures exist on the border of abstraction and representation. It is impossible to tell if they are inside or outside, or if we are shown the interior or exterior of their bodies. The works evoke nostalgia for girlhood, while also imaging possible futures. Neither utopian nor dystopian, Dugger instead produces bodies that simply refuse to be contained.
Victoria Dugger (b. 1991, Columbus, Georgia) is a visual artist living and working in Athens, Georgia. She is currently an MFA candidate at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. She will have her first solo show with Sargents Daughters in July 2021. Her work has been reviewed in the New American Paintings South Edition and the Burnaway Digital Magazine. This will be her debut New York solo show.