Basic Poses

April 8 – May 13, 2017

Artist Reception: Saturday April 8, 4-7pm

Melanie Flood Projects is pleased to present two new video works by Dru Donovan. Donovan’s photography and video work explores how people construct and present their identity by examining the various ways self-representation is expressed through posture, gesture, and interactions with others.

Donovan’s black & white videos are constructed to allow for the investigation of the real and imagined. Basic Poses include new video installations that focus on the intimacy of a cheerleading team’s lifting stunt, and a call-and-response interaction between aspiring models. The gestures of these selected activities are isolated to look at inherited and learned traits of subjects that often perform for audiences or the camera. Both artworks engage with tension and frailty, highlighting the performer’s presentation of self.

Liberty Pose, a single channel video focuses on the physicality of cheerleading athletes. Donovan concentrates solely on the intersection of hands and leg, focusing on the athletic poses most essential point of contact. Disembodied hands reach and grip at the ankle while shakily holding the “liberty pose”, and the viewer sees bodies morph in real time into a fleshy, structural armature. The strain between human strength and exhaustion builds with every loop of the video installation.

In Basic Poses, a 3-channel video, an off-camera voice calls out poses to teenage models, with each one featured on one of three screens. The models perform as directed, and their gazes into the camera convey glimpses of insecurity, confidence, hypersexuality, or self-awareness. The multiple channels provide the possibility of a new narrative with each shifting gesture, and Donovan's straightforward lens invites both discomfort and revelation.

Dru Donovan works in photography and video. Her work has shown in both group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Donovan’s photographs have been published in Aperture, Blind Spot, and Picture Magazine. In 2011 TBW Books published her book, Lifting Water. In 2011-2012 she participated in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace studio residency. Donovan was a recipient of the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship in 2015 and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2016. She holds a BFA from California College of Arts and and MFA from Yale University. Donovan has taught at many institutions and will be joining Lewis & Clark College in the Fall of 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Art.

Basic Poses is the sixth installment of an ongoing artist series at Melanie Flood Projects, Thinking Through Photography. The series includes a comprehensive survey of contemporary photographic practices through programming that highlights experimental and diverse approaches to image making. Facilitated by exhibitions, artist talks, studio visits, interviews, and suggested readings, it aims to expand the language surrounding photography, while also unveiling progressive work by local artists in the Pacific Northwest & beyond.

Thinking Through Photography is made possible with support from the Precipice Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Calligram Foundation/Allie Furlotti.