Art Outside the Object
March 30, 2017
Trey Duvall is a Texas-based artist, and alumnus of SVA's Summer Residency in Sculpture, Installation and New Media Art
SVA SUMMER RESIDENCY PROGRAM: Tell us about where you are from. How has it shaped or changed your art practice?
TREY: I’m currently living and working in Houston, TX. Houston has shaped my practice in many ways, there are a lot of talented artists in the city doing interesting work, so the atmosphere and camaraderie is good. Houston also brings in great artistic and intellectual capital through institutions like the Menil Collection, The Contemporary Arts Museum, and The CORE Program. There are places like Project Row Houses, and Alabama Song that have a more social focus, and places like Lawndale Art Center and Art League Houston that have great programing and opportunities for emerging artists as well as established artists. Houston is a unique environment, it’s a great place to be an artist.
SVA SUMMER RESIDENCY PROGRAM: Tell us about your background. How did you get to be interested in art?
TREY: I have been interested in ceramics and working with clay most of my life. Growing up in Durango, CO I had several influential teachers in ceramics and sculpture that really solidified my interest in art. I was doing mostly functional ceramic work during my undergraduate degree at Fort Lewis College until I started an internship with an artist who introduced me to working with metal. That opened up a new way of working with material at a time when I was also developing a better understanding of the communicative and conceptual possibilities of art making outside of the object. It was a strong redirect for my work.
SVA SUMMER RESIDENCY PROGRAM: Is there a local art scene where you live? Are you a part of a local community?
TREY: Houston has a great art scene - several art scenes, actually. There’s a lot going on. I’ve found the art community here to be really supportive and engaged; people seem to be genuinely invested in each other and interested in the work other artists are doing. Two years ago I got involved working with Washington Avenue Arts District, creating an installation art focused gallery at the base of a complex of 34 decommissioned rice silos. Organizing exhibitions with SITE Gallery Houston I’ve had the chance to create opportunities for other Houston artists and engage with the Houston arts scene outside of my personal artistic practice.
SVA SUMMER RESIDENCY PROGRAM: How has your experience in NYC and the Residency program shaped the future of your practice and community back home?
TREY: My intent for the residency was to get feedback on a few concepts I have been working on. I wanted to engage in productive discourse around my work, and engage with artists who have established practices and perspectives regarding contemporary art. The residency program was a great environment for that to occur. The discussions with the SVA faculty I worked with in the program has certainly shaped aspects of my practice and my thinking. I spent more time listening, looking, and talking than I did making. The diversity of artists, faculty, and guest lecturers provided many different perspectives from a wide cross-section of the arts. I came out of the program with a deeper understanding of my practice based on this, and these experiences and relationships have been very influential on my practice in many ways that are hard to quantify.
SVA SUMMER RESIDENCY PROGRAM: Do you have a favorite place or site for inspiration where you live?
TREY: Besides the institutions mentioned above, I get most of my inspiration sitting in my house having tea in the mornings. Or on airplanes. I tend to have good ideas on airplanes.