Flight Paths and Floor Plans
Talley Dunn Gallery
May 14 – June 25, 2022
Talley Dunn Gallery is immensely honored to announce a solo exhibition of new sculptures and works on paper by renowned artist Joseph Havel. The exhibition will be on view May 7 – June 18, 2022, with an open house and artist reception Saturday, May 14.
Joseph Havel’s latest works are visual poems, revelatory in their materiality and form. Unifying Havel’s various bodies of work is his distinctive post-minimal aesthetic, marked by a sense of quiet gravity and open-ended investigation of critical questions. Cast in bronze and polyurethane resin, the sculptures exceed the scope of their origins. This most recent body of work is the result of an ongoing collaboration during the pandemic between the artist and Hannah, Havel’s African grey parrot.
In the isolation of the pandemic, Havel collected a plethora of cardboard shipping boxes in which his parrot Hannah became interested, intervening with her beak and talons—nibbling, tearing, and shredding. The bronze sculptures in the exhibition are directly cast from the boxes themselves, stacked by Havel in precarious forms, as well as wood elements carved by Hannah and arranged by the artist. Fittingly, Havel refers to these bronze sculptures as “Parrot Architecture.” Havel’s collaboration with Hannah is a compelling example of scholar Donna Haraway’s conception of “companion species,” which calls for a recognition of the complexity of non-human animals and asks that we take our relationships with them seriously. Havel’s new work carefully attends to the material and social conditions of life in quarantine, tracking the flows of goods across the world in an age of heightened expedience and social isolation alongside the development of relationships nurtured within the confines of the home. These new works speak to life in the midst of a global pandemic, as the artist visualizes new kinds of affective bonds fostered with the environment, materials, and other beings around us.
Joseph Havel’s sculptural practice is rooted in an exploration of the quotidian. Domestic objects such as shirts, books, bedsheets, and curtains are cast in bronze and polyurethane resin, taking on neoclassical forms that suggest the human body and social histories of use without dictating any particular reading to the viewer. Rather, the works evoke open-ended visual poetry: their significance comes from their form, materiality, and presence. His series of shirt-label paintings interrogates the boundary between objecthood and the illusionist space of the picture plane, approaching minimalism and geometric abstraction with a post-modernist’s critical stance. Unifying Havel’s various bodies of work is his distinctive post-minimal aesthetic, marked by a sense of quiet gravity and open-ended investigation of critical questions.
Joseph Havel (b. 1954, Minneapolis) earned his BFA from the University of Minnesota in 1975, and his M.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University in 1979. Havel is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2013 Texas Visual Artist as recognized by The Texas Commission for the Arts and Texas State Legislature; the 2010 Texas Artist of the Year as recognized by Art League Houston; the 2008 Dallas Contemporary Legends Award; the 2004 Artadia Fellowship; the 1999 Cultural Arts Council of Houston Artist’s Award; the 1998 American Institute of Architects, Houston, Artist’s Award; the 1995 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award; and the 1987 National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship. Havel’s sculptures and drawings are included in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis; The Menil Collection, Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Honolulu; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Musée Arte, Roubaix, France; S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist lives and works in Houston, Texas, and currently serves as the Director of the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.