440 Gallery | 440 6th Ave
Shanee Epstein's solo show, Off the Wall, is a stark departure from her four earlier shows at 440 Gallery. This installation consists of large architectural photographs hung above small, collaged cigar boxes. One's initial impression might be that the work was made by two different artists. In a way, this is true. Almost every working artist struggles or experiments with conflicting impulses. Most leave that conflict in the studio and choose to show work that "hangs together". Epstein instead embraced this conflict. The abstract formal aesthetic of her photographs appear to be the antithesis of the colorful collaged boxes, but together they create a balanced whole. Off the Wall will be open to the public May 16 - June 23, 2013, with an opening reception on Sunday, May 19, 4:00-7:00 PM.
This new work came from a visit Epstein made to the Tel Aviv Art Museum's new building designed by the architect Preston Scott Cohen. Epstein was inspired by "the amazing experience of being in a space that at any moment I could stop and be within beautiful angles or views of gorgeous abstractions of line, shapes and tone. The light is poetic and dramatic. I found the beauty breathtaking in a formal aesthetic sense, but also moving in an emotional artistic sense."
Epstein's photographs capture the elegance of the architecture, but it is in the boxes that she incorporates and personalizes the experience. Epstein is a collage artist with an ongoing interest in the painted boxes of Richard Diebenkorn. With an affinity for the physicality of the materials, Epstein juxtaposed paper, fabric, photos and found material to create a unique three-dimensional space in each box. Incorporating images from Tel Aviv Museum with other collage elements, she creates depth, a sense of looking through exposed and concealed areas. In this spatial give and take, there is also the tension between the simple and the complex, the narrative and the abstract, and the geometry of architecture with the sensuality of color and texture.