Chadric Devin (MFA 2015) is a Missouri-born artist and MFA candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally in Gilbert, AZ, The Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, IN, and in Xi’an, China. His current work, Active Bodies: Physical and Nonphysical Interactions within the Male Gender, utilizes printmaking and alternative photographic processes to discuss the intricacy of the filial, social, and cultural relationships between men. He explores these ideas through a variety of materials that range from handmade Japanese paper to nontraditional surfaces, such as athletic tape.
From Devin’s statement: “Growing up I felt an overwhelming responsibility and pressure from my father to participate in athletics and display his preconceived ideas of masculine behavior. American culture and society, in the same way, has constructed its own set of archetypes that dictate maleness and the ways in which men are expected to interact and perform their gender. My work explores the complications of these expectations and the complexity of the social relationships formed between males. I address the nature of gender through remnants, objects, photographic images, and human forms that reference and depict my involvement in sports.”
Devin explains that his participation in basketball shaped his understanding of how physical and nonphysical interactions are experienced simultaneously, and that much of his work evolves from his relationship with physical objects. The iconic basketball jersey that appears in several of his images, saturated with over 500 days of sweat, blood and tears, becomes a relic of memory and experience. Similarly, the locker room towel, functions not only as a literal vessel of one’s bodily particles, but also as a mask of masculine insecurity.
“Every action and interaction with another person or material has meaning,” writes Devin. “The intricacies of injury and bandaging represent relationships between player and coach, binding and healing. Papers like handmade Thai Mulberry and Japanese Gampi become metaphors for strength and fragility. Seemingly mundane objects such as a coach’s whistle or athletic tape become symbols of power, confrontation, and disposability. My work exhibits my desire to understand how history, meaning, and experience can be reshaped and understood through the physicality of interacting with materials.”
All images © Chadric Devin
This post was contributed by photographer Acacia Johnson and her student photography blog, Onward Forward.