May DeViney: "what was, what is, and what if?"

Viridian Artists Inc. 

548 West 28th Street, New York

June 6 - June 24, 2017

The artist, in the past & now, has demonstrated an ongoing interest in workers and domestic drudgery, often dangerously spoofing the grateful, subservient attitudes expected of those who work, most often exemplified by the Madonna. No subject is taboo to her, and her themes can overlap as she shows the Madonna doing the laundry, nuns or burka clothed women wearing the American flag, reminding us of the mysteries of religious practice & the ongoing situation of women. Using the Madonna as the image of the perfect woman, DeViney shows how this is an impossible expectation for real flesh-and-blood women to achieve. She continues to expand on this theme, including different classic females crossed with the Madonna.

"Feminism is a strong element for me. Current United States and world dynamics  only show more urgently that women must be considered as full human beings with autonomy and rights, and that this is the only way society can deal with today’s issues and build a better future for all.  I show how women here at home are surprisingly still being treated as property and given no power to control their own bodies and lives."

DeViney is creatively inspired by a number of politically tinged issues and continues to surprise with each presentation, opening up whole new worlds of thought for viewers to consider as they meander through the artworks presented. She creates with no holds barred, highlighting a spectrum of issues affecting both sexes, including free speech, gun violence, militarization/ imperialism, and the 99% strata.

DeViney has won many awards for a past series she did based on “home shrines” which were created to exalt and commemorate not the usual saints, but instead, the common “everywoman”. She is the one who has suffered in all cultures from the expectation of perfection and purity enforced upon her by both society and herself.

DeViney began as a painter but has turned to creating mixed media constructions, which incorporate paintings, found objects and cast-off detritus built into three-dimensional multi-media wall pieces, and sculpture. Predominately representational, her constructions contain the flavor of H. L. Westermann and Grant Wood combined with the styles of Renaissance historical and religious art. Her shadowbox works are tiny worlds where cross-historical figures interact at a three-inch scale, shining a stern light on social issues of the human condition that began centuries ago but continue to exist. Recently, she has added collage as an additional media to get her always political messages across.

In “Unauthorized Autobiography” a show from 2000, DeViney made us privy to not only what she intended us to see, but, realized that she also unknowingly revealed “secrets”, and those “secrets”, those unintended revelations, can be as telling as the subject matter at hand. The same holds true in ordinary life, especially in this world of social media, where unknowingly, we often reveal more than we intend.

A native Mid-westerner, May DeViney attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she absorbed the influences of the Chicago Imagists and iconoclastic art movements such as the Hairy Who, where Hairy Who icon Jim Nutt, was her instructor. 

She now resides in New England, studying art most recently at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  Along the way she also earned a degree in Computer Science from Boston University, reflecting her detail-oriented, analytical eye.  The experiences she has gained and her trenchant observations on the human condition are reflected in her work.

DeViney's art has been exhibited in New York and at university galleries & museums throughout the United States and is in many collections. It has also appeared in national publications including Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, Wall Street International and the cover of Prism magazine.