Critics’ Picks

Leah DeVun and Levi Dugat, The Exhibit of the Past Is the Certainty of the Future
Year, 2009, graphite and acrylic on wood, 49 x 48 1/2".


Leah DeVun and Levi Dugat

Domy Books
913 East Cesar Chavez
September 12–October 22

Leah DeVun and Levi Dugat’s works love the eye, using alternating stretches of seamless, misty penciled passages and scribbled fill-ins to enmesh reverie with alienation. “Your Heart Is Not a Museum,” an exhibition of drawings, is the artists’ second collaboration; most of the works on view were authored together via conversation rather than by hand. Viewers can imagine each artist visiting the other’s studio and leaving ideas like so many Victorian calling cards, generating the vulnerability, intimacy, and occasional identity dysphoria that bind the resulting works together.

Their styles are disparate: DeVun’s renderings of diamonds and soap-opera characters speak to intimacy’s promise, but her works’ obsessive, almost cold technical proficiency precludes any closeness that her subjects might otherwise exude. Dugat is a sweet crafter of cursive titles and embroidery-sampler-esque ovoid compositions. He shades his works with repetitive marks, which gives his compositions a sense of pixelation, as though to highlight the excessive daydreaming that was poured into the image.

A collaborative graphite-on-wood portrait of the two seated on a colored quilt offers a depiction of Dugat gazing just above the viewer’s eyes, while DeVun assumes the ramrod-straight spine of an uncomfortable teenage girl, each representing a dimension of identity that bears out equal risks when made either public or private. Here, aspiration and comfort are well married, proving that the currencies of one’s inner and outer life can sometimes collide beautifully.