Kate Shepherd’s Fwd: The Telephone Game

12 Sep - 17 Oct 2014

©Kate Shepherd, Poser.blowing_bubblesbreastsB.s20 (46x30), stormcloud, 2014,oil and enamel on panel. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York
©Kate Shepherd, womantorse daz3d2 Draw-On-1.s20.lrfr(rightPanel), 2014, oil and enamel on panel. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York
Kate Shepherd’s Fwd: The Telephone Game will inaugurate Galerie Lelong’s fall season with an exhibition of the artist’s most recent paintings. While remaining true to Shepherd’s signature use of delicate lines, spatial complexity, and color, this new body of work reveals a network of processes the artist used to arrive at a desired image. Though Shepherd has used 3D modeling software to create images for her forceful yet refined paintings over the last twelve years, her newest work more explicitly exposes a digitally generated line, making the computer process itself the subject of the work.

Shepherd begins her work in SketchUp to build three dimensional models. The image, derived from both existing and imaginary forms, develops from specific reference sources for the works in this exhibition - an Alvar Aalto bent plywood chair and a variety of virtual 3D game nude models. Whereas a sculptor might make a drawing to depict form on a 2D plane, Shepherd creates her paintings by drawing virtual sculpture. The title of the exhibition, Fwd: The Telephone Game, conveys a playful way to express reusing, retelling and mutations of original source material.

The development of one image by transforming another allows the drawing to take on a new meaning and is a salient and new process for Shepherd. Employing figures from computer gaming, Shepherd transforms a generic figure to one which points to the sensual and classical, including one from the Barcelona Pavilion. The other muse, the bent plywood Aalto chair, designed to “hold” a body and is thus naturally curved, Shepherd has redrawn repeatedly using the iconic Modernist shape to develop imaginary, human-scaled sculptures. In order to further expose her process, Shepherd has titled the work according to the actual file names which track an image’s evolution.

Shepherd’s works have previously utilized geometric patterns and configurations with which she built explicit spaces. Still in Shepherd’s union of painting and drawing, the lines now take on an abstract and renegade life. In reference to the old telephone game, where information is transmitted through multiple people often resulting in a distorted message by the end, Shepherd’s works are alienated from the original source. While one of these ingredients is the quirks of the computer program itself, the other is the chain of human communication, ranging from visitors to the studio, fabricators, and daily e-converstaions with an assistant based overseas.

The works in Fwd: The Telephone Game continue upon Shepherd’s unique approach to painting. Threadlike lines of oil paint are applied upon highly saturated layers of enamel, and joined wood panels, which connote the architecture for which the paint is meant, are the base of the paintings. This method results in a gleaming reflective surface which both allows the viewer to see their own reflection and also guard the intimate image from view. Fwd: The Telephone Game brings together over a dozen new paintings in a variety of scale in the main gallery and a series of “cracked” works on view in the small gallery.

The exhibition is accompanied by an intimate catalogue that includes works in the exhibition, visual references, dialogue between the artist and multiple individuals, and an introduction by the artist. The artist will be present for the opening on Friday, September 12 from 6-8PM.

Shepherd’s work is featured in numerous museum collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Baltimore Museum of Art; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum; Detroit Institute of the Arts; Des Moines Art Center; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Phillips Collection; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Seattle Art Museum. In 2014 her work is included in several group exhibitions including: Reductive Minimalism at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Coloring at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Born in 1961 in New York City, the artist lives and works in New York City.

Tags: Kate Shepherd