Wild Awake

39 Lispenard

October 13 – November 11, 2023

Opening Reception: Friday, Oct 13, 6pm - 8:30pm

Freight+Volume presents Wild Awake, an exhibition of new paintings by Mary DeVincentis. Wild Awake will be on view at the gallery’s 39 Lispenard Street location October 13 through November 11, 2023. The opening reception will be held Friday, Oct 13th from 6 - 8:30pm. Wild Awake is a powerful anthology of Mary DeVincentis's recent paintings. The show’s title draws inspiration from a pivotal moment in Mary Oliver's poem Gethsemane, which alludes to Jesus, alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying before his arrest and crucifixion. In Oliver’s telling, it is nature alone that remains “wild awake”, the sole witness to his suffering. His disciples can’t stay conscious; they sleep while Jesus prays. By skillfully pairing the characters in her paintings with nature in its elemental forms, DeVincentis weaves multi-dimensional narratives and erases the arbitrary hierarchies between humans, animals and nature itself, thus restoring a sense of harmony, balance and unity to the world. In this world, all of life is equally awake. Her compositions often divide the canvas into distinct horizontal planes. Narratives often take shape in the lower half of the canvases, leaving spacious areas above where sky, sun, water and other natural elements envelop our vision in a broad spectrum of symphonious colors: from blue to palegreen, through oranges and yellows, turquoise and lavender. In O Brother Bird, we see Saint Francis conversing with a small brown bird under a hypnagogic sky that brings to mind the music of the spheres. Also highlighting a mutual exchange of blessings, we see Saint Geronimo removing a thorn from a lion's paw in the painting When the Stars Gather Round, and Saint Anthony dialogging with flying fish in Miracle of the Sea. In DeVincentis’s world there is no qualitative difference between the divine and the mundane. The pregnant woman under a tree in the painting Twilight of Tender Mercies is inspired by the Hindu goddess Sita. In the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic from ancient India, Sita, while carrying twins, wasbanished for the second time and sought shelter in Valmiki's hermitage. As a single mother, she raised her sons with courage and wisdom, and eventually they were reunited with their father, Rama. As Rama expressed his intention to bring Sita back to his kingdom, she refused and found solace in the embrace of Mother Earth. In DeVincentis’s visual narrative, exiled Sita is portrayed with a cobra sitting comfortably on her pregnant belly, leading the viewer to contemplate the nature of their exchange. Influenced by a frequent visual trope in Indian miniature compositions, a gray stream with golden fish flows beneath them, while a pink and violet sky opens above the arc of the green hill on which they rest. Mary’s women are depicted as heroes, villains, or divine figures, resilient and strong, redeemed from patriarchal victimization. In Tattooed Woman in the Tunnel of Love, a woman floats along a golden path, with undulating walls on each side bordering her journey, a sweeping arc of blue-green petroleum-black on the left and warm brown and canyon red on the right. The tattooed symbols etched into her skin are autobiographical clues that represent her family and animal friends, repeating elements in her paintings, the tools of her craft and symbols of her spiritual orientation. At the end of the path, a radiant presence awaits her arrival, while a mysterious small face peers out from the other side of the tunnel wall. I see this floating woman as a symbol of the Divine Feminine, a universal force that transcends gender.


Excerpt from The Artist's Artist, Paola Gallio, 2023.

Wild Awake is a captivating exhibition of Mary DeVincentis's recent paintings, where nature remains "wild awake" as the witness to human experiences. Her compositions beautifully blend human narratives with the elemental forces of nature, erasing boundaries and restoring harmony to the world. DeVincentis's work invites viewers into a multi-dimensional realm where divine and mundane coexist, where heroes and villains challenge patriarchal norms, and where the Divine Feminine transcends gender. This powerful anthology is a testament to DeVincentis's skillful storytelling through painting, and it offers a unique exploration of the interconnectedness of life.