Shine a light

Light from shadow: AA Bronson selects New York painter TM Davy
9 October 2014
This article is part of Young Art Week – Defining a generation

Welcome to HERO Young Art Week – our essential, multifaceted guide to the new wave of creatives working at the vanguard of contemporary art today. Across a dynamic week of digital content, we’re exploring what’s happening at the epicentre of this global community: from the ground up, the artists themselves and the key figures witnessing the evolution of the ideas, trends and movements defining this art generation.

Founding member of the legendary art collective General Idea and infamous for his early involvement in punk, AIDS activism and manifestations of ‘other’, AA Bronson is one of the most revered and radical artists living today. Bronson’s work in the art publishing field saw him found the Printed Matter NY and LA Art Book Fairs whilst director of Printed Matter between 2004 and 2010 playing an integral role in the rise of the print medium as an accessible and innovative communication channel for young artists today. AA Bronson currently lives and works in Berlin. 

While speaking to AA Bronson for our interview, we asked the prolific creative to select the artists he feels are making waves with their work in the world, and to ask them one question.

“My work as an artist is rather difficult to define,” reflects Bronson. “I love to collaborate with friends of various generations, and I love to include my friends in my ‘solo’ exhibitions. The artists listed below are all people that I included in my exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson at Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and or AA Bronson’s HOUSE OF SHAME at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, up right now. Generally speaking, these projects combine sexuality, spirituality and community, both queer and not.”

AA Bronson selects TM Davy

“TM Davy painted an almost life sized oil portrait of me lying naked in the magic forest of Fire Island, lit only by candles, now on view in the Gwangju Biennale,” says Bronson. “His very old-school technique belies a contemporary twist on the spirit. His paintings of candles are especially fine, not to mention the more erotic nude portraits of his husband, Liam. I first met the two of them on the nude beach on Fire Island, where we built sand castles and enjoyed chocolate mushrooms.”

TM Davy, ‘Back of Neck’ Courtesy the artist

“When you look into a mirror, what do you see?” – AA Bronson

TM Davy: I see light, gradients and rainbows, a looped construction of the spectrum playing across form, the shape of my looking side, all the light that streams into the room but wasn’t trapped inside some particle of this room or me, waves that the pigment of my skin or hair doesn’t keep in some inherited mechanism of survival, defence and variation, lengths of red and yellow posing no threat, frequencies passing through the skin and back, intensities and hues separated by distance to bone and density of blood, brighter shapes where the light hits most directly, values shifting with turning away, all those angles of incidence, patterns of shadow, some bend and dust at the mirror’s surface that says everything is subjective and everything is everything, a darkening in the space between, a loss of contrast, my mother in my own face like people say, a worry for her lungs, many feelings there, astral healing thoughts back into the light source, O momma, sometimes the sun light, sometimes a candle, impossible and laughing at myself and at myself laughing, a performance of all the feelings I know, all the feelings I know being performed, neutral culmination, hair that is longer than it has been in a while, hair longer than I like it but waving across my forehead in a way that my husband loves and my mother, hair like Papa loved, “Clark” as he would call me and I see that and why I shaved it just before the big man passed, burned up into light and dust, how I didn’t visit in that last week, a hell to pay or a permanent projection, myself long after those Thanksgiving parades from a skyscraper where I looked in the mirror to try on his shirts, drawing myself in the mirror for Mimi to keep 24 years ago, so much the same, Mimi in the dust, William in the light and partly somewhere in the shape of my eyes, my 34 years all together, eyes holding this image of now, a present from a past, forward in the direction of the back of my head, everything i am and am not, horses in America, a daisy chain and grass, a black hole open and wanting.

Check out more of TM Davy’s work at his website.

Stay tuned for more HERO Young Art Week content in the coming days and plug into our social media platforms for updates as they come.


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