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Michael Jevon Demps

Ludic Field/Lucid Fold

curated by Kenny Rivero

January 31 - February 23, 2019
Closing reception: Fri., February 22, 6-8PM


Blackburn 20|20 is pleased to announce, Ludic Field/Lucid Fold, a solo exhibition of monoprints by Michael Jevon Demps. Demps is a multidisciplinary artist whose work questions his/our bodies in relationship to power and oppressive social structures while creating conditions, in space and time, that critically engage with communities as audience and collaborator. He aims to create circumstances that encourage seeking and sharing experiential knowledge in order to empower attempts that facilitate the navigation of a constantly shifting social, political, intimate, and spiritual world.  

At a glance, it’s simple to describe Demp’s creative life as being various. With multiple practices that range from being a music producer, an instrumentalist, a vocalist, an athlete, a printmaker, a sculptor, and a painter, you can reduce a reading of his practice(s) one step further and argue that his steadfast commitments are to being a musician and a visual artist. You would still be wrong. Demps is on a search to unname: to intentionally manifest and define the connectivity between objects, ideas, and experiences while uprooting their integrity in order to experience their transformative capacities, and in essence, their unison.

As a deeply empathic maker, Demps’ efforts in the studio, and in the world, rely on a sensibility that is constantly recalibrating to the currents and frequencies that inform how we travel through space and experience the world. Jenn Joy writes:

Walk carefully in the darkness these are precarious terrains. A candle burns,  wind chimes echo harsh metallic, air surges and recedes, rendering the invisible of the visible through sensate gradient. Untethering representation from vision, Michael Demps’ work translates breath into wind, water into noise, trespassing along the dangerous edges of caricature to reveal an ongoing repetition of trauma. Never singular, the objects-candles cast from a racist trinket, bottles of chocolate milk, magnetic marbles, Motown refrains-interrogate substance to ask something of subjectivity and the complicity of address. Bound, cast, overturned, these indices of identity and history conjure a trajectory where violence remains intimately urgently present.


Michael Jevon Demps was born in 1976 in Detroit Michigan. He received an MFA from Yale in 2017, and a BFA from CalArts in 2015. Demps has attended prestigious residencies such as Skowhegan, The Fountainhead Residency in Miami, and most recently, Reading Zimbabwe Residency, in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he collaborated with Wes Taylor, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, and Tinashe Mushakavanhu on a series of seminars and sound performances that focused on pancultural connectivity and exchange in Johannesburg, South Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His work has been exhibited nationally and abroad, and was included in the 2017 exhibition “Fictions” at the Studio Museum in Harlem.