Cass Davis

Of Roses and Jessamine, 2016.

Solo Exhibition
SITE Galleries, Chicago IL

Of Roses and Jessamine investigates spatial and corporeal sites of ritual. Take from the devotional and erotic poetry of Saint Teresa de Avila, the show’s title embraces the deeply sensual nature of personal worship and spiritual ecstasy. Additionally, works in the show flicker between states of revival and
destruction. These sites for collective spiritual and social identity simultaneously surround and separate the viewer from the experience promised within. What, if anything, is being revived? Or are these structures instead collapsing from within?

Davis' work draws deeply from their Evangelical upbringing and rural Midwestern identity. Their practice is fixated on locating the phenomenological within rural America. The work seeks to critique systems of belief while also embracing the unknown. It questions power structures, yet invokes the power of the supernatural and personal experience. Davis’ practice is tensioned between a desire for belief and existential loss. Material explorations across works explore cloth as a form of establishing shroud and sanctuary, seeking to capture the spiritual ecstasy experienced by devoted believers. It embodies an aura of obsessive devotion, as expressed in the hand-woven,hand-sewn, and queering reclamation of ritual.