Danica Phelps: Getting My Money's Worth
Oct 11 - Nov 19, 2005
Danica Phelps: Getting My Money's Worth

Danica Phelps: Getting My Money's Worth

Ritter/Zamet is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in the UK of New York artist, Danica Phelps.  

Since graduating from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1994 and the completion of her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995, New York native Danica Phelps has exhibited extensively in the USA and internationally at venues including P.S.1 and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and most recently at the Aldrich Museum, Connecticut and Wien Museum in Vienna. September 2005 saw the release of two major new publications, Every Day Life, and a Book of D’s. Both books will have their London launch with the artist present on Tuesday, 11 October at Ritter/Zamet.

Danica Phelps’s practice involves assiduously cataloguing her daily expenditures and every-day activities over designated blocks of time. Since 1996 she has developed an elaborate diagrammatic identificatory system to document every single financial transaction--where each dollar is represented visually by a single stripe of watercolour: green for incomings, red for outgoings and grey for credit. Through a combined installation of intricate week-at-a-glance financial charts and point by point daily diaries with complimentary figurative line drawings, Phelps creates a sensitive, systemic documentation of life’s repetitious rituals such as taking a shower, making love, grocery shopping, paying her utility bills or daily encounters with friends. At the same time, she has used this methodology as a basis to actively address her role as an artist and the tenets of inimitability, creative value and exchange within the art market. This has seen her repeatedly tracing and regenerating her sold drawings and then re-selling them as generational facsimiles or trading her work with other artists and writers in exchange for examples of their work.

For her show in London, Phelps will show the recently completed series, Getting My Money’s Worth. Over the last two years she has been challenging herself to determine and classify the physical and mental benefits gained from an expensive annual gym membership. As the artist explains, “The gym costs $1000 a year, which is a lot of money for me. Because it’s a one time fee, I feel that I’m almost earning money when I go to the gym, because every time I go I’m making my $1000 worth more”. The project will present a sequence of her trademark charts and graphs documenting the time and money spent at the gym over a designated period along with twenty-six drawings of the artist’s own body interacting and engaging with the gym environment and equipment. For the first time, Phelps will show small groupings of drawings to re-present a single action from shifting perspectives giving a very dynamic sense of physical process, the passing of time and the act of pushing the body into space.

The back gallery will also present drawings and diaristic pages from the 2004 project, Writer’s Trade. Here, Phelps made drawings of everything she spent money on across a three-week period in May-June 2004 and then asked selected writers, poets and critics to write a text on a subject inspired by a drawing of their choosing in exchange for the drawing itself. The writers’ responses have been reproduced in their entirety alongside their drawings within the new publication, Every Day Life.