David Shaw’s “Beam” at 33 Orchard Gallery


Untitled #6 (Knot paintings), 2015, Burnt found plywood, wood, holographic laminate, paint, 36 x 38 ¾ x 2 in.

Jane Kim is pleased to present David Shaw’s first exhibition at 33 Orchard, Beam, opening Sunday, November 22nd from 6 – 8 pm. The exhibition of new work includes a large-scale wood and glass sculpture, wood paintings with holographic laminate, and a single photograph. 

Shaw plays with the edges of material reality. With an influx of ideas, dialectics, and a nod toward neurochemistry, he materializes epistemological questions of matter and consciousness in sculpture. The works themselves are in constant dialogue, poised in a visual interplay between Nature and Man; a complicated relationship wherein our desire for control faces the natural stages of entropy making the raw and symbolic, the cosmological and subatomic, visible all at once. Using mostly discarded, found wood, blown glass, and a holographic laminate, metonymic symbols of building, structure, and domestication become emotional components with a modern twist, transmuted yet recognizable.

Such material contradictions are vital to Shaw’s craft. Organic elements such as tree branches suggest the figure, while blown glass and fabricated moss introduce notions of time. The result is a rupture in the distinction between solidity and consciousness. Most notably, Shaw uses holographic laminate with these materials, invoking a fourth dimension for the viewer: a seemingly psychedelic, “neuro-synaptic, quantum-chemical portal” through reality. The result can be a dazzling spectacle rendered in a palette of refracted colors and reflective surfaces, or a simple juxtaposition of elemental matter, leaving viewers in a transcendent state between grasping and release. 

Leak, a reclaimed crossbeam from a barn, sprawls on the gallery floor. This fallen figure, now a symbol of disintegrating domestication, acts as a nurse log to the branch growing out its side. A long teardrop of glass expresses pain as well as rebirth and renewal, while large glass bubbles buoy and anthropomorphize its latent potential. The Knot Paintings show a sophisticated level of communication across dimensions. The holographically laminated holes in the scorched, found plywood radiantly suggest passages to other purlieus: quantum, cosmological and emotional. Finally, First Light a photograph taken shortly after the death of a close friend is an acknowledgment of energy released. The image is both an explosive symbol of daybreak, and simultaneously contains the terrifying beauty and rupture that occurs when one loses the love of another human being.

David Shaw was born in 1965 in Rochester, New York, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.  He received his BA in Fine Arts from Colgate University in 1987. In 1990, the artist joined Feature Inc., and showed there extensively until the passing of Hudson in 2014. He is a recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Award (2015) and the Nancy Graves Foundation Award for Visual Artists (2008). His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Artphilein Foundation in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. His exhibition Dear Everything, is currently on view at Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, New York through December 6, 2015.

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