MASS Gallery
507 Calles Street Suite 108
Austin, TX 78702

Opening January 17th, 7-11pm

David Prince’s installation brings together images and objects collected from the artist’s own backyard, as well as the Monet Gardens in France.  Like a dinner party, the artist sees the objects and images as collaborative characters brought together for a temporary engagement. The curated objects have been altered by the artist, and behave as displaced participants.

The show’s title draws from the 1968 essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin.  Hardin’s work, often cited in environmental sustainability debates, broadly explores the concept of resource depletion when individuals act in their rational self-interest. English law distinguishes between public commons, ie land, oceans, etc and private enclosures, ie backyards and gardens.  By investigating the concept of a garden as something resting between public and private, domestic and wild, Prince explores the blurred lines surrounding what is indigenous and what is natural.  The show presents nature as an oscillation between something immediate, personal and poetic, and something external, objective, and a consumable resource.

Works on show include photographic prints, a large wall drawing, sculptures, and videos.  The video and photo work is composed from footage shot at the Monet gardens in France, the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, World of Owls in Antrim, Northern Ireland, the artist’s own backyard in Los Angeles, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.  The still images and video have been digitally combined, layered, and animated.  The series explores a garden as an enclave, a space that is separated from but remains within other space, in the same way that a garden can be perceived of as both separate from and within the natural world.  Shot primarily in low light at dusk, the foreground is lit and contained, while the background recedes indefinitely into darkness.  The depiction of space is simultaneously enclosed and infinite, akin to a secret garden which is bound by walls, but internally expansive.  Sculptures in the show are constructed from found objects from the artists own home, yard and neighborhood.



This series documents an exchange of objects, beginning with an object contributed by the artist.  The artist’s item is a sculpture made from a bisected palm frond from the artist’s backyard palm tree.  The exchange invites any visitor to the gallery to participate by exchanging the item on display with an item of their own in an ongoing transaction.  Each participant must make a determination of how they value each object within the exchange.  The exchange will continue for the duration of the exhibition.


As an expression of MASS Gallery’s mission to create meaningful and significant moments for artists and viewers to connect, MASS introduces Close Encounters. In line with the continual effort to provide artists with the physical and mental space to challenge and develop their practice, Close Encounters will be a platform for them to reflect on their process while providing new avenues for gallery audiences to experience contemporary practices.

With each exhibition, MASS will solicit participating artists to devise a program designed to provide new methods of engaging the public’s curiosity, inviting them to participate intellectually or physically with the exhibition space, as well as the artist’s work and concepts. Open and broad, this prompt can be approached from a multitude of ways: performative, passive, or completely radical in execution or thought. Close Encounters is a challenge to the artist, as well as the audience, and is designed to provide a new way of encountering and understanding the creative process.


MASS is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.