Derrick Velasquez : Constant Denial


Derrick Velasquez : Constant Denial
Jul 20 – Sep 16, 2017

In tandem with his first solo exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, entitled “Obstructed View,” Robischon Gallery is pleased to present Derrick Velasquez’s “Constant Denial,” the artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Continuing on recent themes relating to both exhibitions, Velasquez and MCA Denver Associate Curator Zoe Larkins, convey that Velasquez’s sculpture is purposely placed in conversation with architecture. Larkins states, “Specifically, the works on view address MCA Denver’s David Adjaye building, as well as the politics of urban development and architecture more broadly. Velasquez highlights parts of the museum that are often overlooked,” such as the interior atrium between floors, “while transforming ordinary architectural features into art objects. Velasquez’s depiction and use of mass-produced building materials at once parody bourgeois aesthetics and challenge distinctions between architecture, art, and design.”

Provocatively considering how architectural elements shape the cultural discourse, Velasquez’s unconventional use of visually traditional decorative moldings like egg-and-dart or Greek key patterns, with their weighted meanings in both the cornice-like, impressive stacked gold molding of XXXXXXXXXXXL at MCA and the individual sculptures at Robischon are made pointedly political and contemporary. Through the unexpected use of molded foam joined with neatly planed wood forms into exaggerated crenellations or secreted interior linings, the “Preservation of Monument” series expands the discourse of how architecture and design covertly, even if without acknowledging it, reinforce the social status quo.

Velasquez notes, “The foam-trim molding has become an exploratory material that I have begun to use to draw in space. The architectural molding contemporarily represents faux opulence as it is made of cheap expandable foam that is easily manufactured for ubiquitous McMansions. It treats a surface through linear ornamentation and gives it value and weight. This façade, however, is flimsy and the perpetuated social and class/economic issues backing the crown molding begin to fall apart when exposed solely as an object. In the “Preservation of Monument” series I laminate this fake molding to finer hard woods or high-end facsimiles and paint it colors not normally seen on crown or trim molding, bubble-gum pink, peachy orange and pale blue. By using this combination as a material to make line and shape and color, I deny the typical uses of ornamentation and make it into an object that holds the history of elaborately ornamented places like Versailles with a Modernist and formal reconstruction.” The constant denial of the exhibition title is multi-faceted and is offered as a point of discussion. In service of dialogue, Derrick Velasquez negates cultural objects from their desired and understood contexts even as he imbues the very same commodities with new and unexpected depths of significance.

Derrick Velasquez has a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MFA from Ohio State University. He has exhibited in both solo and group museum exhibitions including Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, and numerous university galleries including the Frame Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, PA, Hiestand Gallery, Miami University, Myhren Gallery, University of Denver, Curfman Gallery, Colorado State University, Hopkins Hall Gallery, Ohio State University along with Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum. His awards and residencies include: William and Dorothy Yeck Young Sculptors Competition Purchase Award, Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum Artist Fellow, Colorado Creative Industries Career Advancement Award, Vertigo Art Space Artist Residency (as Stapleford Collective), Denver, CO, Redline Artist Residency - Denver, CO 2010-2012 Juror's Pick: Tricia Robson - Icebreaker 2.0, Ice Cube Gallery, Denver, CO 2011, Best In Show - Boxcar Gallery Annual Juried Show and Fergus Family Material Award - The Ohio State University 2008. His work is in select private and corporate collections such as Fidelity Investments, Miami University, Oxford, OH, Dikeou Collection, Denver, CO and the Colorado Convention Center. Velasquez is a founding member of Tank Studios, Tilt West and teaches at Metropolitan State College, Denver. “Obstructed View” runs through August 27, 2017 at MCA Denver and his organization of Open Shelf Library: The Stacks space is also on view.