Opening Thursday, May 12, 5-7 PM
Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present Remedy Pictures, Louise Despont’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery.
In Remedy Pictures, Louise Despont synthesizes her long-standing investigation of drawing as a tool for research and healing with a personal exploration of homeopathy and alternative healing modalities. In many ways, each of Despont’s compositions realize an architecture of balance through their relationship of color and pattern. Balance, in a broad sense, is something journeyed toward, and expresses itself in myriad forms— in nature, in our physical being, in relationships. For Despont, drawing is a vehicle through which such a unified feeling can be attained; for nearly two decades, the artist has used architectural stencils, graphite, and colored pencils to explore these possibilities of drawing in a process that is equal parts improvisation and meditation.
Comprising small and large-scale works on paper alongside sculptural line drawings, Remedy Pictures asks how homeopathic remedies can be visualized, and what kinds of healing signals or vibrations drawings can transmit. Here, Despont turns to homeopathic remedies derived from various plants, minerals, mineraloids, and metals—such as Calcarea Phosphorica or Arsenicum—to render their abstract essences.
Over the past 3 years, Despont has begun to experiment off the page, making line drawings in space with bamboo and string. Inspired by techniques employed by traditional Balinese kite makers, the artist collaborated with master craftsmen to whittle, bend, and shape harmonious forms which are then affixed to hand-dyed fabrics. Against rich hues of indigo, ochre, and rose, the bamboo lines of Arsenicum (2021), Pulsatilla (2021), and Ignatia (2020) float in subtle relief, embodying a delicate tension in both form and materiality. These large-scale works radiate an essence of attunement, and akin to the materiality of Despont’s drawings, the inherent qualities of the bamboo, string, and botanical dyes transmit individual energies.
The largest drawing in the exhibition, Mercurius (2021), comprises sixteen ledger book pages and is monumental in both scale and in detail. Mercurius refers to the homeopathic remedy derived from Mercury, and specifically reinterprets 16th century alchemical manuscript illustrations of a symbol known as the mercurial hermaphrodite. Variations of the symbol depict a bifurcated figure—half male, half female—standing on two stones; out of these stones, two plants flower upwards on each side. For Despont, this curious image resonates for its affect of transformation and union; in the artist’s interpretation, the figure of the mercurial hermaphrodite becomes an abstracted, regal form—an ethereal emblem of balance that courses throughout the entirety of Remedy Pictures.
Louise Despont (b. 1983, New York, NY) lives and works in Mallorca. She received her BA in Art Semiotics at Brown University in 2006. Despont has had solo exhibitions at The Drawing Center, New York; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn; Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York; Galerie Isa, Mumbai; and Ibid Projects, London. Group exhibitions include The Drawing Room, London; Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Spain; VI,VII, Oslo; Petit Palais, Paris; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and Ibid Projects, London, among numerous others.
Her work can be found in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; and the RISD Museum, Providence.