Matty Davis and Ben Gould: Carriage
Curated by Mitra Khorasheh
86 S. 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
Monday, October 30, 2017 - 6:30 - 8:30pm
signs and symbols presented Carriage, a performance work by Matty Davis and Ben Gould. On October 30, the artists welcomed viewers into an intimate setting for a performance experimenting with space, transparency, objects and open process.
Emerging from new, evolving conditions of their bodies, Matty Davis and Ben Gould engage physicalized forms of resistance and balance that confound care, provocation, and necessity, ultimately inducing a slow evaporation of control. In November 2016, Gould underwent jaw surgery to treat complications brought on by his Tourette Syndrome. Prior, he was able to lift only 10 pounds, and November’s surgery has allowed him to slowly begin reclaiming the full strength of his body. In January 2017, Davis had an accident in which a table saw cut into four of his five fingers, necessitating a partial amputation of one, wires and a bone fusion in two, and a bone graft in another.
Davis and Gould’s different physicalities, and the transformations they have undergone and are responding to, offer a unique opportunity to create work that draws from charged variance, where empathy can be a physical tool, resistance offers stability, and we are all cast out into a space that levels us, brings us real fear, awakening, new vocabularies and physical structures.
This performance of Carriage marked a particular time in the work's development, whose evolution is indefinite. The final iteration of Carriage will premiere in 2018. This duet performance will be dramaturged by award-winning playwright Will Arbery, with handmade clothing designed and created by artist Gabriella Lacza, which act as sculptural elements in the work.
A series of objects stemming from Davis and Gould's individual practices - material embodiments of friction, impact, resistance, adhesion and balance - occupied the space before, during, and after the performance. As signs and symbols is a space through and in which movement takes place, these sculptures are conduits, mnemonics, formed and born of kinesthesia.
Matty Davis is a dancer and visual artist whose work pits the body against often radical undertakings and journeys that explore the limits and empathic possibilities of embodiment, memory, and love, as well as the origin of materials and mark-making. His interest in the conditions surrounding movement and how they impact speed, friction, and the body’s energy systems have led to dances being staged in Death Valley, the Rocky Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, upon the rural ball fields of Oklahoma, and atop deserted tractor-trailers in the Great Smoky Mountains. Davis received his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. In 2015, he was awarded an artist residency at the Watermill Center, and was the recipient of a 2016 Visual Arts Fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Davis is a co-founder, co-director, and the principal performer within BOOMERANG, a daringly physical, poetically nuanced dance and performance project. Davis has presented work in New York at venues such as Dixon Place, the 92Y, Judson Church, and at the United Nations, as well as at Steppenwolf Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Arts Arena in Paris, and at Berliner Festspiele in Berlin.
Ben Gould born 1993 in Grass Valley, California, Ben Gould currently lives and works in New York City. After being diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, his studio practice has transformed to harbor a new investment in the body; exploring limits, resistance, and the loss of control. Grounded in performance, his multidisciplinary practice is built upon intimacy, collaboration, and learning. Gould has performed site-specific works across the United States, and has had solo exhibitions in Kansas City and Chicago. In 2015, Gould was an Ox-Bow Fellow, and a McKeown Grant recipient. Most recently, Gould has performed and exhibited work in San Antonio, New York, and Kansas City, as well as in Badwater Basin, CA, and Vienna, VA.