MINNEAPOLIS–The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) has announced “POSTURING,” a multimedia installation by Minneapolis-based interdisciplinary artist Joshua McGarvey that explores the abstraction of truth. Through sculptural installations, the exhibition invites visitors to consider how museums like Mia often display objects out of their original context to imbue different meanings. The exhibition also features video work that experiments with the concept of truth and the presentation of self. Presented as part of Mia’s Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP), the exhibition will be on view from July 23 through October 30, 2022, in Mia’s U.S. Bank Gallery.
Upon entering the first gallery, visitors will be greeted with a scale copy of Doryphoros, the iconic sculpture from Mia’s permanent collection, constructed out of foam. An apt example of a contextually abstracted object, the Roman sculpture is itself a copy of an earlier Greek version. A video work featuring a punching bag will be projected on the wall behind the Doryphoros, accompanied by the sound of McGarvey’s own heartbeat. Lending a sense of aliveness to both the punching bag and the Doryphoros reproduction, the combination of video, sculpture, and sound viscerally begs the viewer to abstract and personify the two inanimate objects.
“‘POSTURING’ confronts the use of formal and contextual illusion in the construction of authenticity, truth, and self,” McGarvey said. “The museum functions as a perfect example of how objects taken out of their original context are then reinterpreted, and often put into conversation with other objects that they would not have otherwise encountered. Without context, many objects on display at Mia are lost in abstraction.”
In the second gallery, on a green, seamless backdrop, is a 40-foot-long re-creation of the spear the figure would have been holding in the original Doryphoros sculpture. The color is a reference to the green screen used in video production, further symbolizing the manipulation of context. Videos will be playing at both ends of the gallery. In one, McGarvey simulates an artist profile piece, creating a fake interview setting in which he shares intimate information while wearing a mask of his own face. Another constructs a random encounter with a stranger in the alley behind the artist’s studio, demonstrating the familiar paradox of a story abstracting reality to provide a more entertaining performance.
“I’m fascinated by how abstraction can be applied to presentations of self,” McGarvey said. “The work shown in this exhibition explores authenticity in anonymous confession and the performance of self. It looks at how we hide and share information in ways that alter its meaning or perception.”
“POSTURING” is part of the MAEP, Mia’s curatorial program dedicated to exhibiting and supporting artists living and working in Minnesota. Founded in 1975 as a yearlong partnership between the museum and regional artists, it has grown into a unique, ongoing program. Generous support for MAEP is provided by the McKnight Foundation with additional support provided by RBC Wealth Management.
About Joshua McGarvey:
Joshua McGarvey lives and works in Minneapolis. His work has combined installation, performance, sound, and interactive elements. He received his MFA from the University of Minnesota, and an MA and BFA from Ball State University. He has received a number of awards and grants, including the 2018 Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship, 2017 and 2020 Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a 2015–2016 Art(ist) on the Verge Emerging Artist Fellowship.