University of Southern Indiana, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art New Harmony, IN
Curated by Iris Williamson
In this solo exhibition featuring new and existing work, Cass Davis exhumes collective and personal histories and questions perceptions of history—an excavation of Small Town America. Titling the show after the final apocalyptic Biblical book, Davis explores a multiplicity of transformational experiences, or Revelations. Conversing with the roots of Evangelicalism, whiteness, their own Midwestern upbringing in the church, and New Harmony’s “utopian” attempts, Davis’s work seeks to ask the question, What is to be revived and what is to be dismantled? Revelations implies the removal of the veil—a revelation of truth.
The installation, sculptural, and textile works in Revelations utilize the textures and imagery of rural landscapes. Hand-woven Jacquard textiles featuring archival images of 1920s Appalachian revivals; the 1908 Springfield, IL Race Riot; and the artist’s own family photos allow for a revisitation of complex histories. Hay bales sourced from local farms, natural materials, and roadside architecture evoke a sense of familiarity and curiosity, and conjure the memory embedded in the land.
Revelations embodies the duality of tragedy and ecstasy found in the human search for transcendence. Sifting through archival materials, Davis seeks to uncover what has been hidden. “How can we alter our perceptions of history? What if we recognize that the oppressed past is non-linear; that history remains alive in the present?” Davis states, “Perhaps we can recognize that the ghosts that haunt our lives are speaking to us from the past—that through acknowledging their presence, we may find a place to address our history with honesty and find a path to healing.”