David B. Smith Gallery is pleased to present, Love Letters to Rocks, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of new work by Mike Womack. This body of work includes both sculpture and painting in line with Womack’s interdisciplinary practice that combines conceptual rigor, abstraction, and, in this case, geological forms directly from nature.
Love Letters to Rocks employs reductive abstraction as a method to explore futility in representation in his paintings as well as a means to display the subject of devotion, rocks. According to Womack, true depiction is a problematic gesture and “the separation between an image and the essential truth of an object/being is more confused than ever given the primary platform of how images are consumed today–in a digital space.” By contrast, this exhibition brings object and image into physical space, displaying the rocks within their own wooden matrix from which to view the paintings created for them. Monochromatic palettes are chosen as a challenge to the concept of traditional ideas of depiction via painting. These ‘love letters’ also confront ideas relating to romance, and the dynamics of a one-sided relationship. What type of relationship can occur if the romance lacks reciprocity? And does this question look to a larger narrative on the current, and futile, state of interpersonal relationships in the digital age?
For Womack, “as depiction-less as a painting may strive to be it still exists as an image, and is projected in the mind as an image of something. My hope here is to charge the viewer with the possibility that depiction could be conjured in the mind not by representation but instead by devotion or proximity.” In this instance, the devotion is to objects that cannot reciprocate, but in their own absurd way provide a platform for the viewer to redefine their notions of subject, object, painting, and relationship.