Davina Semo, ‘SHE WOULD PERFORM DRESSED IN BLACK WITH HER BACK TO THE AUDIENCE’, 2017, Headlands Center for the Arts: Benefit Auction 2017

Davina Semo makes sculpture that is shaped by questions about self-awareness and place in a world of hustle, desire, isolation, technology, speed, survival, and discipline. Using concrete, glass, and metal, Semo has developed a formal syntax that is imbued with narrative. In her hands, these materials suggest autobiography; they become emblems of power and control. Emphasized by her distinctive titles, the artist employs poetics as pneumatics—inflating Minimalism’s deliberate remove with a rugged humanity. Davina Semo received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego and a BA from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She has had solo exhibitions at Marlborough Contemporary, New York; Ribordy Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland; CAPITAL, San Francisco; Lyles & King, New York; Rawson Projects, New York; White Flag Library, St. Louis, Missouri; Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam; Shoot the Lobster, Miami; and Martos Gallery, New York. The artist lives and works in San Francisco.
–Courtesy of Headlands Center for the Arts

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist, Marlborough Contemporary, New York and London; and CAPITAL, San Francisco

About Davina Semo

Davina Semo’s brutal abstractions are deeply rooted in the physical. There is an implied violence and danger in the slabs of spray-painted concrete and broken safety glass that make up her sculptures, but also a certain austere beauty. While these objects appear blank and impersonal—they could be confused for found objects from a construction site—Semo gives them grandiose all-caps titles that uneasily bridge the gap between humor and hysteria, thus leaving their meaning unclear. “I keep coming back to thinking about how strange it is to be alive,” Semo has said, “and how in this time of total connection there is so little attention paid to the fundamental or metaphysical reality in which we exist, which is that there is no way for you to read my mind, and no way for me to read yours.”

American, b. 1981, Washington, D.C., based in Brooklyn, New York