A New Devotional


January 7, 2022 – February 6, 2022

Opening Reception: Friday, January 7 from 6 to 8 pm

Praise Shadows Art Gallery opens its 2022 program with A New Devotional, a two-person exhibition featuring Boston-based Crystalle Lacouture and Kansas City-based Kevin Umaña. The artists, who have followed one another’s work for years but are exhibiting together for the first time, maintain artistic practices that are rooted in abstraction, color, and memory. Lacouture’s paintings will include her MAMA series, works on paper created as a daily ritual, while Umaña will present new ceramic tablets shown for the first time in Boston. Intended specifically for the start of the year, A New Devotional brings together artworks that emphasize the artist as a gift-giver and as medium for emotional care.

The artists will be present for the public opening reception on Friday, January 7, from 6 to 8 pm. 

The exhibition will feature a series of Lacouture’s MAMA paintings: gouache and colored pencil works that are part of a diaristic practice. According to the artist, these are “created with the intention of offering protection to my ill mother and all other mothers facing difficulty during the pandemic.” They use an unexpected, yet symbolically meaningful canvas: SCORE KEEPER shooting targets. The function of this ready-made material is transformed from a medium meant to be mutilated and discarded, to one that radiates energy and protection via Lacouture’s sonic waves of colors and geometries. Rather than obfuscating the concentric rings of the targets, she harnesses the power in their symbolism and in their active use to create a new visual language.

While Lacouture’s paintings appear shield-like in their form and in their expression of protection, Umaña’s ceramic paintings are akin to tablets that record memory and time. Through the use of bold colors, dynamic gestures, and expressive marks, his work proposes a dialogue between the systematic and the open-ended. The artist will present new ceramics that disrupt the formal rectangular structure of the tablet, while maintaining the rich use of color, line and texture that he is celebrated for. While certain shapes, lines, form, may spark recognition, Umaña’s work is open to interpretation, allowing his viewers to draw upon their own experiences and associations.

About the artists

Crystalle Lacoutoure is an artist based in Boston and North Adams, MA. She received her BFA in Painting/Printmaking from Skidmore College in 2000, where she received the Pamela Weidenman Award for Excellence in Printmaking. While living in NYC, Crystalle was a longtime assistant to activist artists Nancy Spero and Leon Golub and a printmaker and Resident Key Holder at the Lower East Side Printshop. She has attended residencies at Surf Point Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, the Vanguard Mastheads, the Contemporary Artist Center, and Room 83 Spring. Her work is in the collections of Fidelity, the Hammond Museum, and Skidmore College. In addition to her full-time studio practice and other curatorial projects Crystalle is a curator at Tourists, a hotel near Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA. She exhibits her work throughout New England and New York.

Kevin Umaña (born in Los Angeles, CA) received a B.F.A. from San Francisco State University with a degree in Printmaking. He is the co-founder of The Ekru Project and a contributor to The Coastal Post. In 2021, he completed his first solo exhibition, Wax and Wane with David Richard Gallery in New York. In 2019, he was an artist in residence for the Center For Book Arts. He has exhibited nationally and internationally with DC Moore Gallery, NY; Joshua Liner Gallery, NY; SIM Gallery, Reykjavik; Koppel Project Hive, London; In Live, Taipei; Bass & Reiner, San Francisco; and in 2018 completed a residency through the Sím Residency in Reykjavik, Iceland and Plop Residency in London, England. He has collaborated with Condé Nast, Wired Magazine, London College of Music and Slowdown Studio. In 2017, he created a permanent installation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

Left – Crystalle Lacouture, MAMA Drawing #75, 2021, gouache on Score Keeper shooting target, 11” x 16”, image by Lisa Neighbors.
Right – Kevin Umaña, The Dynamics of a Ringing Church Bell, Glaze on Black Stoneware, 13” x 9”, 2021, image courtesy the artist.