It's an abstract world out there

Jul 04, 2013, 05:45 IST | Ruchika Kher

As Galerie ISA opens its first group show to art enthusiasts on July 5, American artist Mindy Shapero gears herself to showcase her works for the first time in India at the show

Los Angeles-based artist Mindy Shapero will be showcasing her works at Galerie ISA’s debut group show, titled Visions from Beyond: A Foray into Metaphysics and Materiality starting July 5. Shapero’s creations will be presented alongside artworks by young artists including Berlin-based Dan Rees and German artist Daniel Lergon, all of whom share a common interest in the field of abstraction.

Detailed image of Mindy Shapero’s Vision of Inversion (another world). Wood, gold leaf, acrylic and colour aid paper strips.

Time and space
This is Shapero’s debut show in India and the artist leads us in, “The works that are being shown in this exhibition are Inversion drawings and a sculpture. They are all made by the accumulation of smaller parts that complete the thought or the idea: moments that are frozen in time, in the state of imploding or exploding, mostly through positive and negative space.”

Mindy Shapero’s Inversion visions (black, blue, orange, yellow, green, red, silver and gold). Spray paint, acrylic and gold leaf on paper

The sculpture that will be showcased at the show is made from wooden triangular forms, painted individually, and then arranged and stacked to create a dome-like form. The drawings are also made from an initial drawing that the artist used as a stencil, then the shapes were cut out to produce the same kind of exploding affect and then the artist used that cut out drawing to make more drawings by spray painting them so that the negative space becomes positive space on the paper.

An artwork by the artist

“From a distance, the sculpture takes on the final dome-like image with the interior lines gesturing the explosion or implosion but then as you approach it, it potentially can fall apart and become something entirely different, the reveal happens. The same happens with the drawing; in the end, the image is visible from a distance and then offers more or something different once seen close up,” reveals the artist, who is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.

Form the inspiration
Although Shapero admits in drawing inspiration from both art historical tradition and from outsider practices and spiritual experiences, she also maintains that literature is something that really catches her interest, particularly Magic Realism, and Science Fiction. “I draw from these ideas when creating the narrative for the artwork, as well as looking at forms and patterns in nature,” explains Shapero.

Emphasising on this way of working, the artist cites an example of a time when she saw sculptures of horses in the antiquities museum in Athens, Greece. The horses had been discovered in the sea, where they lived for many years, limbs had broken off, barnacles and crustaceans formed all over, making the horses seem like they were in a state of entropy.

“This idea is something I try to mimic in my work, the notion that something could be in the process of dying or becoming alive. Formally, there are certain issues I attempt to contradict, the most obvious one being gravity, this creates tension that can intrigue an otherworldly nature.

I also constantly refer to art history, I love to see how other artists have approached similar formal problems; sometimes, I use their resolve and it introduces an exciting context for me. Some artists that I frequently look at are Brancusi, Loiuse Bourgeois, Oyvind Falhstrom, Naum Gabo, Jean Dubuffet,” Shapero signs off.

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