Victoria Dugger and the Frictions of “Accessible” Spaces

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Out of Body, Victoria Dugger’s debut solo show at Sargent’s Daughters, is a deft exploration of the tension between interiors and exteriors. Internal tubing bursts from the knotted kneecaps of soft sculptures; organs stretch outside of their corporeal confines and out of frame in mixed-media paintings. For Dugger, who is disabled, bodies are mutable and prone to rupture, yet they remain expansive — cosmic even — twisting and unfurling in a way that feels potentially liberatory.

Elsewhere in the show, Dugger explores the friction between a claustrophobic indoors and an unreachable outdoors. In paintings like “Some-timey” (2021) and “Blood Harmony” (2021), natural landscapes bleed into otherwise hermetic rooms, or extend as idyllic and impossible backgrounds. Here again is a rupture, one that questions the limits placed on our conception of “accessible” space. This is ultimately when Out of Body is at its strongest: when Dugger’s formal and conceptual concerns work in tandem to probe at this bodily and societal surface tension, depicting how both pain and revolution can be possible when the inside bursts, inevitably, out.

Victoria Dugger, “The Miseducation of an Oyster” (2020), 12 x 36 inches, nylon, ink, pearls, and hair (all images courtesy Sargent’s Daughters)
Installation view, Victoria Dugger: Out of Body, Sargent’s Daughters, 2021

Victoria Dugger: Out of Body continues through July 24 at Sargent’s Daughters (179 East Broadway, Lower East Side, Manhattan).

Justin Kamp is a writer and reporter whose work has been published in Garage, Metropolis, Chicago Magazine and elsewhere. He covers the intersections of visual art, technology, and design. He is currently based in New York.
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