Jaxon Demme “Celestial Cues”
January 20th – March 5th 2023
Opening reception January 20th from 6-9pm located at No Gallery – 105 Henry St. (no.4) NYC, NY 10002
Jaxon Demme –It Makes Me Happy, 2022 – Canvas, Acrylic, Highlighter, Paper, Graphite, Oil Medium – 26 x 19½ in. (66.04 x 49.53 cm.)
Jaxon Demme –Love Me Better, 2022 – Canvas, Acrylic, Highlighter, Paper Pulp, Colored Pencil, Graphite, Oil Medium – 14¾ x 21½ in. (37.47 x 54.61 cm.)
Jaxon Demme – Roar, 2022 – Chalk, House Paint, Pencil, Oil Medium, Collage Paper – 15½ x 21 in. (39.37 x 53.34 cm.)
Jaxon Demme – Something To Do With Downtime, 2022 – Canvas, Acrylic, Highlighter, Paper, Graphite, Oil Medium, Fabric – 15½ x 22¾ in. (39.37 x 57.79 cm.)
Jaxon Demme – Tiny Revelations On My Pile of Dirt, 2022 – House Paint, Los Angeles Soil from Artist Studio, Chalk, Paper Pulp, Paper – 84 x 72 x 2 in. (213.36 x 182.88 x 5.08 cm.)
Jaxon Demme –When I See In The Dark, 2022 – House Paint, Los Angeles Soil from Artist Studio, Chalk, Paper Pulp, Paper, Spray Paint on Wood – 84 x 72 x 2 in. (213.36 x 182.88 x 5.08 cm.)
Making is a devotional practice, borne of repetition – a constant process of trial and error. The artist builds up a language over time in order to better understand the relationship between the content and the subject, both materially and spiritually.
In Jaxon Demme’s first solo exhibition with No Gallery, she allows the work to remain loose, moving subliminally through internal dialogues made physical, repeating, expanding and healing across painting, drawing and sculpture.
Placed throughout the gallery are ninety six [SIC] concrete butterfly sculptures inspired by the migration patterns of the Monarch Butterfly, an often mythologised path whereby tens of thousands of the species (around 30% of the total population) meet in Pismo, CA. Demme’s continuous sculpting of the butterfly also echoes the Japanese myth attached to folding one thousand paper cranes, being that if the task is completed, the maker is granted one wish but more directly presents the person undertaking the task as one of strong character, honour and loyalty. These elements of tradition, superstition and folklore address a contemporary reinterpretation of their purpose, presenting the unknown as a space for contemplation and growth as opposed to one requiring immediate, often limiting, definition. The butterfly sculptures exist as a byproduct of a meditative practice, imbued with the energy of self-reflection as a means of growth, rejecting the notion of a masterpiece in favour of making as an act of spiritual healing and exploration.
Painting and drawing as an act of spiritual devotion retains a specific and often ambivalent history in the west. To produce artwork in service of the Christian church as a propagandist act, shifting aesthetically as was necessary in order to better represent those in power or to control those who are not. Religious painting, in the west, has come to represent a relationship of control within cultural space, with contemporary artists often using the aesthetics of Christianity as a shorthand for moral supremacism, control and oppression. Rejecting these notions, Demme’s two dimensional works have far more in common with eastern devotional practices, sharing certain elements with Indian Kalighat painting. Often taking place in or around spaces of worship, Kalighat painters produce images of deities or religious stories in a pragmatic style, distilling aesthetics and symbols to their most effective point both visually and communicably.
In Celestial Cues, Jaxon Demme shares this process of reproduction and reinterpretation in her rendering of figures and motifs throughout – in place of specific deities or figures, these works pull together anonymised female figures, a cogitative appraisal of the self set within the same structure, entirely by chance. Demme’s figures are in a permanent state of reincarnation, finding themselves rendered in new environments, contexts and materials until they are able to find resolution, moving beyond the confines of corporeality and embracing an ecstatic state of nothingness.
Herein lies the root of Celestial Cues, a desire to broaden one’s listening, to be aware of the ways in which the universe communicates and how we can effectively position ourselves to be attentive when it does. This new body of work sees Demme refuting the notion of specificity, that artworks should adhere to a linear structure of focus and instead embracing a search for oneness. These pieces do not insist upon themselves, instead acting as a record of growth and reflection, a leaning in to the spiritual curve and a concerted decision to remove unnecessary contemporary paradigms.
The exhibition is a marker for a new awareness in the artist’s practice, a push towards making as a means of integrating into a cosmic fabric, establishing a connection to something beyond ourselves, willing to become visible should we take the time to see it.
Jaxon Demme is an artist born in 1997 in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts – Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, Ca.