Work samples

  • Entangle 2018 vinyl, felt, steel, aluminium, blower housing, bicycle components, hardware, air, human participants 56x54x32”
    Entangle 2018 vinyl, felt, steel, aluminium, blower housing, bicycle components, hardware, air, human participants 56x54x32”

    Entangle describes a relationship between a bound captive in the enclosed vinyl structure and one who provides air by means of a pedal driven blower. The air is necessary for comfort and breath
  • convey1s.jpg
    Conveyance, 2017. Vinyl, wood, steel, leather, hardware ducts air, occasional human occupant 40x19x30”

    First in a series of moveable objects containing live humans that need to be manipulated by the viewer(s) in order to experience the work. I was contemplating notions of agency and complicity
  • Stack
    Stack 2016, vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, air

    A number of years ago, riding my bicycle on an urban bike-path that passed by Baltimore’s prison, I encountered an unusual spectacle: Throngs of people in their finest clothing, standing shoulder to shoulder on the freeway overpass overlooking the prison, waving at the tiers and rows of tiny windows that faced the roadway. It was heartbreaking, not just because of the juxtaposition and contrast between the apparent cheerfulness of the scene, the pain of separation and the reality of incarceration, but that the scene illustrated the scale and effects of excessive incarceration in our nation

    6 human participants, standing on small steel perches, affixed to the wall with vinyl and felt enclosures are supplied air by viewers operating six large bellows, By operating the bellows the viewers perform an act of kindness or duty but are nonetheless made complicit in the captivity of the six people on the wall.
  • Pulmonate
    Pulmonate 2016, vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 5 human subjects

    This work is a refinement of a previous piece, “Camp X” inspired by the early images of Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Initially I had used blowers to supply air to the people imprisoned inside the vinyl and felt structures, but the use of bellows, operated by viewers at once mimicked the action of lungs and implicate the viewer in the action.

About David

Baltimore City
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, David Page earned a National Diploma in Fine Arts from the Cape Tecnikon in 1986 and received an MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2002.
 
Recent solo shows include Security Theatre at the Creative Alliance (Baltimore),
God and Lunchmeat at Old Dominion University and “Staan Nader, Staan Terug!” (come closer, get away!) at Stevenson University.
 
He received the Maryland State Arts… more

Compound Balance

Compound Balance 2006-2019 steel, aluminium, canvas, leather, sand and me
 
As my work became more complex with multiple participants, my role in the performances changed from subject to orchestrator, I wanted to get back to a simple act where I would be the person facing the dilemma.
 
In Compound Balance, a counterweight lifts a bag containing a bound human subject, by means of a scissor action, locking hoist. As long as there is sufficient mass in the counterweight, the person remains locked and suspended in the bag and must wait for enough sand to escape in order to equalize the weight and release the lock.
  • Compound Balance
    Compound Balance installed at the Corcoran, October 2019
  • Compound Balance
    Compound Balance at the Corcoran, Washington DC 2019, about to be hoisted into the bag
  • Compound Balance
    Compound Balance performed at the Corcoran, October 2019
  • Compound Balance
    Performing Compound Balance at the Corcoran, Washington DC 2019
  • Compound Balance
    Looking down at Compound Balance at the Corcoran, Washington DC 2019
  • Compound Balance
  • Compound Balance
    Compound Balance installed and performed at Meat Market Gallery Washington DC 2008
  • Investigative sketches for Compound Balance
    Planning sketch for Compound Balance
  • Investigative sketches for Compound Balance
    Investigative sketches for Compound Balance
  • Investigative sketches for Compound Balance
    Investigative sketches for Compound Balance

Thought Experiment

Thought Experiment, 2018 65x75x42 vinyl, canvas, leather, steel, wood, hardware, air, human subjects
 
The work refers to a category of thought experiments known as the Prisoners’ Dilemma, which relies on an absurd and implausible premise, (largely because it requires for its solution that both the authorities and the apprehended criminals think and act rationally at each turn). It is about the absurdity of thought experiments generally.
 
I imagined 2 human participants/subjects, each inclined at 60 degrees, held in angular suspension by each other’s weight. I was also thinking of hackneyed trust-building exercises that one might encounter during team-building events.
 
 The piece was exhibited and performed at Struktura Gallery in Sofia Bulgaria. The structural plywood elements were fabricated in Bulgaria via CNC router according to my specifications. The rest of the material was carried on as checked baggage and assembled on site.
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Thought Experiment during rehearsal at Struktura Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria, September, 2018
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Thought Experiment during rehearsal at Struktura Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria, September, 2018
  • Thought Experiment, 2018 drawing
    Drawing for Thought Experiment
  • Thought Experiment, 2018 drawing
    Drawing for Thought Experiment
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Opening reception for "Subversive Play", Structura Gallery, Sofia Bulgaria
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Opening reception for "Subversive Play", Structura Gallery, Sofia Bulgaria
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Gallery view, opening reception for "Subversive Play", Structura Gallery, Sofia Bulgaria
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Opening reception for "Subversive Play", Structura Gallery, Sofia Bulgaria
  • Thought Experiment, 2018
    Talking with participants after the performance

Entangle and "Don't need no Hero"


Entangle describes a relationship between a bound captive in the enclosed vinyl structure and one who provides air by means of a pedal driven blower. The air is necessary for comfort and breath   
  • Entangle 2018 vinyl, felt, steel, aluminium, blower housing, bicycle components, hardware, air, human participants 56x54x32”
    Entangle describes a relationship between a bound captive in the enclosed vinyl structure and one who provides air by means of a pedal driven blower. The air is necessary for comfort and breath
  • Entangle 2018 vinyl, felt, steel, aluminium, blower housing, bicycle components, hardware, air, human participants 56x54x32”
    Entangle describes a relationship between a bound captive in the enclosed vinyl structure and one who provides air by means of a pedal driven blower. The air is necessary for comfort and breath
  • Entangle 2018 vinyl, felt, steel, aluminium, blower housing, bicycle components, hardware, air, human participants 56x54x32”
    Entangle describes a relationship between a bound captive in the enclosed vinyl structure and one who provides air by means of a pedal driven blower. The air is necessary for comfort and breath
  • Entangle 2018 vinyl, felt, steel, aluminium, blower housing, bicycle components, hardware, air, human participants 56x54x32”
    Entangle describes a relationship between a bound captive in the enclosed vinyl structure and one who provides air by means of a pedal driven blower. The air is necessary for comfort and breath
  • Entangle 2018
  • Don’t need no Hero
    Don’t need no Superhero 2019 56x28x23

    Canvas, felt, leather, steel, hardware, industrial blower and occasional human subject

  • Don’t need no Superhero 2019
    Don’t need no Superhero 2019 56x28x23

    Canvas, felt, leather, steel, hardware, industrial blower and occasional human subject
  • Don’t need no Superhero 2019
    Don’t need no Superhero 2019 56x28x23

    Canvas, felt, leather, steel, hardware, industrial blower and occasional human subject

  • Don’t need no Superhero 2019
    Don’t need no Superhero 2019 56x28x23

    Canvas, felt, leather, steel, hardware, industrial blower and occasional human subject

  • Don’t need no Superhero 2019
    Don’t need no Superhero 2019 56x28x23

    Canvas, felt, leather, steel, hardware, industrial blower and occasional human subject

Ornamental Cookery

Ornamental Cookery
 
“Hence a cookery which is based on coatings and alibis, and is for ever trying to extenuate and even to disguise the primary nature of foodstuffs, the brutality of meat or the abruptness of sea-food.”
 
In his 1957 essay, Ornamental Cookery, French philosopher and literary theorist, Roland Barthes skewers mid-century food photography as an aspirational petit bourgeois convention. He cites an “endeavour to glaze surfaces, to round them off, to bury the food under the even sediment of sauces, creams, icing and jellies”.
 
The use of the word “alibi” intrigues and excites me because it implicates us (the consumers) in the brutality surrounding the “primary nature of foodstuffs”. Try to contemplating with every bite, the cruelty, maltreatment, exploitation, inequality, commodity dumping, price fixing, nutrient runoff, excessive pesticide and herbicide use, dirt, viscera, blood and slaughter that comprises our food supply chain. Little wonder that we use utensils, simple technology that not only keeps our hands clean, but distances us from the underlying horror of what we eat.
 
Similarly, upon getting dressed one confronts (or chooses not to) the exploitation, coercion, displacement of populations, child labour, sweatshop conditions, horrific (and avoidable) industrial accidents, war, colonialism and slavery that are the history and present of the textile and garment industry.
 
I have selected the spoon, the most sensual of utensils and the sewing machine, the charismatic icon of the industrial age. Apart from their appeal as seductive objects, they further complicate meaning by being signifiers of class. Just like knowing which diminutive spoon or fork is appropriate while dining, a home sewing machine implies polite accomplishment, while an industrial sewing machines recall images of rationalized labour. The same appliance depending on size and context is used to domesticate and industrialize.
  • Ornamental Cookery: Singer F Class with cover
    Singer “F” class harness machine, padded canvas and leather cover, single flange wheels and rail
  • Ornamental Cookery: Forcefeed & show title
    Title panel with spoon/axe
  • Ornamental Cookery: Momument to Bigfoot and Bez
    Tower, sandbags, steel fence and carved wooden spoons
  • Ornamental Cookery: general view
    General view of installation
  • Ornamental Cookery: Singer 31 Class with cozy
    Singer model 3115 industrial sewing machine, casters, fabric and canvas protective cover
  • Ornamental Cookery: Singer 31 Class with cozy
    Singer model 3115 industrial sewing machine, casters, fabric and vinyl protective cover
  • Ornamental Cookery: Singer 31 Class
    Singer model 3115 industrial sewing machine on casters
  • Ornamental Cookery: Singer 31 Class with cozy
    Singer model 3115 industrial sewing machine, casters, fabric and canvas protective cover
  • Ornamental Cookery: general view
    General view of installation
  • Ornamental Cookery: general view
    General view of installation

Security Theatre: Stack

Security Theatre investigates the dissonant and seemingly inverse relationship between perceived threat and measurable risk by looking at the artifacts of security and the aesthetics of punishment. The piece has two components: Stack, consisting of 6 human subjects affixed to the wall and Pulmonate which comprises 5 subjects arrayed cross-legged on the floor.
 
Author, prankster and security expert Bruce Schneier uses the phrase “security theater” to describe a state where, in the wake of a spectacular criminal or terrorist event, countermeasures are adopted that do little or nothing to create a condition of safety, but only create the illusion of security.  
 
We are more moved by stories than data. We find the sensational crime more compelling than the bland fact that we are unlikely to be harmed by a criminal act.
 
This imbalance between sensation and fact is destructive, opportunists on all sides of the political spectrum seize upon isolated criminal events to describe a society out control and hold themselves up as the only possible solution to this artificial condition. An increase in the perception of safety is inevitably accompanied by the forfeiture of liberty.
 
  • Stack 2016 , vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, 160x192x18” and 36x72x80”

    6 human participants, standing on small steel perches, affixed to the wall with vinyl and felt enclosures are supplied air by viewers operating six large bellows, By operating the bellows the viewers perform an act of kindness or duty but are nonetheless made complicit in the captivity of the six people on the wall.
  • Stack drawing, ink on paper
    A number of years ago, riding my bicycle on an urban bike-path that passed by Baltimore’s prison, I encountered an unusual spectacle: Throngs of people in their finest clothing, standing shoulder to shoulder on the freeway pass overlooking the prison, waving at the tiers and rows of tiny windows that faced the roadway. It was heartbreaking, not just because of the juxtaposition and contrast between the apparent cheerfulness of the scene, the pain of separation and the reality of incarceration, but that the scene illustrated the scale and effects of excessive incarceration in our nation
  • Stack 2016, detail
    A number of years ago, riding my bicycle on an urban bike-path that passed by Baltimore’s prison, I encountered an unusual spectacle: Throngs of people in their finest clothing, standing shoulder to shoulder on the freeway pass overlooking the prison, waving at the tiers and rows of tiny windows that faced the roadway. It was heartbreaking, not just because of the juxtaposition and contrast between the apparent cheerfulness of the scene, the pain of separation and the reality of incarceration, but that the scene illustrated the scale and effects of excessive incarceration in our nation
  • Stack 2016 , vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, 160x192x18” and 36x72x80”
    Attaching subjects to the wall
  • Stack 2016 , vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, 160x192x18” and 36x72x80”
    Using crane and harness to elevate subject
  • Stack 2016 , vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, 160x192x18” and 36x72x80”DSC_0133.jpg
    Hoist and harness
  • Stack 2016 , vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, 160x192x18” and 36x72x80”
    planning drawing for hoist
  • Stack 2016 , vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, 6 human subjects, 160x192x18” and 36x72x80”
    planning drawing for hoist
  • Security Theatre at the Creative Alliance: "Stack"
    Video Footage of "Stack"

Security Theatre: Pulmonate

Security Theatre: Pulmonate 2016, 42”x180x180 (approx.) vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, air & 5 human subjects

This work is a refinement of a previous piece, “Camp X” inspired by the early images of Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Initially I had used blowers to supply air to the people imprisoned inside the vinyl and felt structures, but the use of bellows, operated by viewers at once mimicked the action of lungs and implicate the viewer in the action.
  • Pulmonate 2016, 42”x180x180 (approx.) vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, air & 5 human subjects
    Pulmonate at the Creative Alliance, Baltimore 2016
  • Pulmonate drawing, ink on paper
    Planning sketch for Campx and Pulmonate
  • Pulmonate 2016, 42”x180x180 (approx.) vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, air & 5 human subjects
    Pulmonate performed at the Creative Alliance, Baltimore 2016
  • Pulmonate 2016, 42”x180x180 (approx.) vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, air & 5 human subjects
    Pulmonate performed at the Creative Alliance, Baltimore 2016
  • Pulmonate 2016, 42”x180x180 (approx.) vinyl, felt, canvas, thread, steel, wood, hardware, air & 5 human subjects
    Performance begins
  • Security Theatre at the Creative Alliance: "Pulmonate"
    Video footage of Pulmonate
  • Nov12performance7.jpeg

And now we shall live forever

In this piece I sought to use parts of the gallery that were otherwise useless to other artists in a rather crowded group show, fashioning fleshy vinyl pads to cushion any architectural features (corners, railings and pillars) that I feared may injure a viewer.
  • And now we shall live forvever, Katzen 2017
    Reception desk at the American University Museum, Katzen Art Center, Washington DC
  • And now we shall live forvever, Decker Gallery 2015
    Exterior intervention, Decker Gallery, Fox building, MICA Baltimore MD
  • And now we shall live forvever, Decker Gallery 2015
    Corner protection, Decker Gallery, Fox building, MICA Baltimore MD
  • And now we shall live forvever, Katzen 2017
    Protection for tall and short people, the American University Museum, Katzen Art Center, Washington DC
  • And now we shall live forvever, Decker Gallery 2015
    Stair-rail protection, Decker Gallery, Fox building, MICA Baltimore MD
  • And now we shall live forvever, Katzen 2017
    Stair protection, the American University Museum, Katzen Art Center, Washington DC
  • And now we shall live forvever, Decker Gallery 2015
    Stair-rail protection, Decker Gallery, Fox building, MICA Baltimore MD
  • And now we shall live forvever, Katzen 2017
    Stair protection, the American University Museum, Katzen Art Center, Washington DC
  • And now we shall live forvever, Decker Gallery 2015
    Installation view, Decker Gallery, Fox building, MICA Baltimore MD

Tether 2014

Requiring two participants, one is locked inside a padded canvas suit; restrained cross-legged and unable to move, the subject is also hooded and unable to see. The suit is locked and secured by means of a 1/4'” steel cable, passing trough a number of loops, making it impossible to free the first participant without cutting the cable. The cable is finally secured around the waist of the second participant who may move about only to the extent that he or she is tethered by the cable.

For this performance, the duration of the first participant depended on the duration that it would take to be towed on a small cart from the Eastern end of the National Mall to the side entrance of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, a distance of about 2 miles, arriving to coincide with the exhibition housing the piece. The restrained participant would be released and the two would switch roles inside the gallery, remaining locked together for the duration of the reception

Everything went according to plan, despite the biting cold, until we rounded the final corner and were challenged and detained by the uniformed Secret Service, who objected to the activity so close to the White House.
  • Tether on the National Mall
  • Tether
    On the National Mall
  • Tether on the National Mall
  • tether
    Encounter with Secret Service
  • Tether
    Encounter with Secret Service
  • Tether
    Identifying Jess
  • Tether
    Carrying Jess up the stairs of the Corcoran
  • Tether
    After changing positions in the gallery
  • Tether Drawing
  • Tether Drawing

The object is dead

We no longer have the same relationships with durable useful objects, the transformation of the means and place of production leaves us with items that are discarded if worn, obsolete or redundant, we no longer have intimacy with tools, the original made objects.

The useful object, if it survives, is more often than not displayed an artifact or even a relic, functioning more as an image than a discreet object.

Anticipating a post-object culture, we are left to speculate about its effects, Relationships with objects inform our understanding of grammar and sentence structure as well as means for comparison. Vocabulary is largely dependent on descriptions of objects; there was no name for the colour blue until blue dyes were common. The fact that the cloudless sky and the sea (both voids) were blue was immaterial, we had to hold blue in our hand in order to regard and describe its appearance

Dead or alive, some objects assert their prerogatives. In pre-lingual fashion, the baseball bat, the wing nut and the Acheulian hand axe communicate intuitive instructions for their use. Perhaps like Schrodinger’s cat we can regard the object as being simultaneously alive and dead.
  • Mother's constant worry
  • Reem
  • "paplepel" (porridge spoon)
  • "Is this a dagger I see before me?"
  • toy, not toy
  • Andy's reluctant gift
  • St. Crispin's bitter irony
  • Mother's constant worry
  • reliquary

Drawings

Large drawings
  • Spoon Dreaming 2017 45x70" charcoal on paper
  • Singer 111W155 2015 40x70"
  • Singer Ultra 2016 graphite on paper
  • Singer 3115, 2015
    charcoal on paper, 50x90"

    The first of a series of sewing machine studies that might investigate industry and domesticity
  • Masticate 2012 36x72" charcoal on paper
  • Fetch 2009 65x50” charcoal, paper
  • Chew 2008 72x50” charcoal, paper
  • Teethe 2009 72x96" charcoal, ink, white media, paper
  • Sip 2009 72x50” charcoal, paper
  • Gnaw 2009 72x50” charcoal, paper