At this point, Virginia Overton can’t help but succeed. After a pair of hectic years—since 2010, her work has appeared in no less than 29 exhibitions—she’s now preparing for solo shows at The Kitchen, a well regarded nonprofit, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, one of the most successful galleries in the city. The attention is deserved. Overton’s sculptures and installations are exceptionally well executed, formally beautiful, and easy to like. Most often, they take the form of a minimal object placed under duress, or put somehow in structural doubt. In one work shown at Mitchell-Innes & Nash last year, a giant triangle, made of three thick poplar boards, outlined a space between two of the gallery’s columns; it commanded attention, as bare wood and simple constructions and Fred Sand back-ian space do, but was also tenuous: the boards weren’t attached to each other by anything other than gravity and friction. Overton had created a sense of the monumental out of nothing more than empty space and a few lines, and then thrown it away again, as if the whole affair were nothing more than a happy accident; in truth, it was anything but.
Overton has a preternatural ability to hit that note again and again. Some works seem so perfectly geared to the space around them that they must be site-specific, but then show up in a different exhibition, in a different space, and work just as well. Others seem so carefully calculated that they must be the result of some long engagement with the material, but turn out to be the only work in that medium Overton has ever produced. How she does it, we don’t know, but we’re eager to see more. [Q and A and slideshow, after the jump.]
2012 Art Stars: Virginia Overton
Is there an artist/exhibition/artwork that's had an especially significant impact on your development either recently or at the beginning of your career?
When I was a kid, my mom studied oil painting. She had a studio in the house and I used to go in there when she and my dad were out (we weren’t really supposed to go in there unsupervised) and I’d just sit and look at everything, all of her supplies and canvases. I loved that space she had.
Is there a work or show that you have produced that you would consider a touchstone to your body of work?
Yes, the show I did at Dispatch (a small non-profit formerly on the LES) in 2009 was really important to me. It was my first real solo show in NYC. The space is super intimate and quirky, and co-founders Howie [Chen] and Gabrielle Giattino really let me figure it out and take my time. It was a great experience for me.
What did you learn from that experience that you use in your work now?
I learned to not rush the process of making and installing work and to consider as many possibilities as I could think of as a way finding balance and a distillation of ideas. <
If you could exhibit your work anywhere, where would you choose? (We don't just mean institutions and museums.)
I like exhibiting it all over the place—I’ve been in shows in a lot of galleries, but I also really like making shows in the backs of trucks.
If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Just go ahead and do art, you’re going to end up doing that anyway, so don’t try to get out of it.
What jobs did you do to try and get out of making art?
I held many jobs but the one that seems like it was a precursor to what I do now and that I enjoyed the most was starting a house and barn demolition company with my sister and two friends. We actually did take down real buildings (small ones), but entire buildings. It was such hard and complicated work, and dangerous and probably not by code, but it was in very rural areas and we did it, one piece at a time.
How do you describe your work to your parents?
They seem to get it without too much explanation—thank god!
What is your interest in trucks?
They are the perfect platform for sculptures. You never see any two packed the same way or with the exact same stuff—each is unique and temporary and I think it’s a great expression of a person’s aesthetic born of necessity.
Poor Jebus, never allowed to have any fun.
Apr 22, 2011
At this point I'll do just about anything to toodle around on google image search for a few hours.
Apr 13, 2011