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Cutting into the top left corner of the painting, is a section of a blue disposable mask, with pale blue folded fabric showing. To the right of this, are five padlocks, most are brassy/gold, with one that is silver with blue plastic. All the locks are positioned differently, some are clasped shut, some are open, and some have keys in them, or adjacent to them, lying around.

Kevin Devonport: Precarious Freedom

Kevin Devonport (he/him) is an artist based at Assembly House Studios in Leeds. He is a self-taught painter, learning whilst serving a prison sentence for drug offences. Art has had a major impact on Kevin's life and in particular his rehabilitation, by allowing him to be grounded in an accepting social world, unlike previous experiences in which he was ostracised due to the criminal label that others attached. Despite not having formal artistic qualifications, he holds a First Class Honours BSc in Sociology that influences his work considerably.

Devonport is interested in still life painting of everyday contemporary artefacts. He likes to convey the meanings that people attach to materiality by creating a narrative from mundane objects. For his bursary project, he has developed a still life composition.

This PANIC! bursary painting depicts a number of artefacts that are related to the Covid-19 pandemic through his own interpretation, including the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The Tower card of the Tarot deck is used to display a cataclysmic event that is often life changing through the breaking down of old structures. However, it also offers a renewed opportunity to rebuild.

Kevin Devonport, Precarious Freedom, 2021. Oil on canvas. PANIC! Bursary, courtesy of The Tetley

Kevin Devonport Photo: Jules Lister

Listen to a description of the artwork here:

 

Read a description of the artwork here:

Detailed image description
"One of the interests that I had was people's attachment to materiality, the different meanings we put to objects and how they can basically get a life of their own. And it's been so I can tell a story with just material objects.

And the paint and brushes that come in [the painting], it just seemed so many people have, just, ways of dealing with lockdown – which I know for myself – I am more equipped dealing with seclusion and isolation... one of the things was creativity, maybe reading, or that's the type of escapism from this."
Kevin Devonport
Cutting into the top right corner of the painting, is a section of a blue disposable mask, with pale blue folded fabric showing. Laying on top of this mask is a pair of shiny grey handcuffs. These are locked, although one lock seems to be on the edge of becoming loose.
Cutting into the top left corner of the painting, is a section of a blue disposable mask, with pale blue folded fabric showing. To the right of this, are five padlocks, most are brassy/gold, with one that is silver with blue plastic. All the locks are positioned differently, some are clasped shut, some are open, and some have keys in them, or adjacent to them, lying around.
A tarot card rests on top of some padlocks. The card is ‘The Tower’, from the Major Arcana of the Tarot. This card shows a lightning bolt striking a tower, causing fires in the upper windows and roof, causing a crown and two people to fall off. The people are wearing blue and red. At the top of the card, the number sixteen is written in roman numerals and ‘The Tower’ is written underneath the painting of this card.
In the middle of the painting at the centre of the composition, there is a transparent antibacterial hand sanitiser bottle with a white lid and label, showing some blue hands on the front.
In the bottom right corner of the painting, we see three oil paint tubes, one brown, yellow and the final red one is out of the frame. These are roughly laying around, partially squeezed and dented. There is a final large silver lock in the centre bottom of the canvas.

PANIC! Interview with Kevin Devonport July 2021, Assembly House

Read a transcript of the interview here:

Interview transcript
“...If 20 years time comes by, and me as an artist, I'd never contributed anything to this, you know, big moment… it just wouldn't seem right. So I thought I'd just do one painting and one painting only, about the pandemic.”
Kevin Devonport

Discover the other PANIC! bursary artists

This work is presented as part of the PANIC! (Promoting an Artists' Network in the Crisis) series of bursaries.

Earlier this year, PANIC! awarded four artists in Leeds City Region £5,000 and £1,000 bursaries to support the making of a new contemporary visual artwork or project. The bursaries offered space to create a voice and help us think through the new psychological, social and cultural conditions we face today.

For the £1,000 bursaries:

Kevin Devonport and Hannah Lawless

For the £5,000 bursaries:

alabamathirteen and Thahmina Begum

See their work here

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