Conjuring Giants

Angeleno artist Devon DeJardin takes his spiritual guides to New York’s Albertz Benda.
Devon DeJardin

Heroes, according to author Joseph Campbell, often follow the same story arc—they answer a call for adventure, delve deep into the wilderness of the unknown, and emerge on the illuminated path home, transformed with new understanding.

In the story of his own life, Devon DeJardin struck out from his native Portland, Ore., to make a splash in the art world in Los Angeles with iterations of geometrical figures he calls “guardians.”

Does art imitate life or vice versa?

“I’d say that often our real life ‘guardians’ come in forms we don’t recognize,” DeJardin says. “Challenges that force us to learn new skills. Losses that teach us emotional resilience.”

“Giants,” the Los Angeles–based artist’s first solo exhibition in New York City, runs June 30 to August 5 at the Albertz Benda Gallery. The exhibit tells a story of confronting and conquering “giants,” spiritual guides composed of shapes that give the illusion of three-dimensionality and appear occasionally in conversation.

“The geometrical figures in Devon’s work possess a totemic power, exuding calm and serenity through the dramatic interplay of light and shadow,” says Thorsten Albertz, co-founder of Albertz Benda.

In his career as an artist, DeJardin has often garnered attention due to his age. A 28 years old, he’s been described by Albertz as “sagacious” and skilled beyond his years. Call it self-taught or unencumbered by a formal art education, DeJardin lives his art school experience from his studio in the DTLA Arts District and retreats to the beaches to recharge.

“The main place I feel most connected socially and spiritually is by the ocean,” he says.

The guardians were created in Los Angeles and inspired by DeJardin’s study of world religion at Azusa Pacific University. His previous solo exhibition was at Denk Gallery in the Arts District.

For his New York City debut, expect to see bronze and brass sculptures. “There is something special about being able to physically place a ‘guardian’ into spaces both indoor and outdoor,” DeJardin says.

In this part of his story, DeJardin is on a sojourn, but he is slowly developing a new body of work. The hero will return home—transformed.

“This life is short,” he says. “It is temporary, and it is a hell of a battle. I find joy in my existence and the life I have been given.”

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