Rebecca Ness In Dialogue with Joel Shapiro
It's a fascinating and smart curation: Rebecca Ness' dense and personal portraits of artists in their studios juxtaposed with a single, and animated sculpture by Joel Shapiro. The sculpture creates an avenue in which to see each painting, guiding you across Ness' universe of contemporary artists working away on their craft. The minimal to maximal gives both artists room to breath.
But somethiung about the wooden sculpture speaks to the paintings. There is life. What Morgan Presents notes of the combination, "The installation of the figurative, wooden Shapiro sculpture provides a counterpoint to Ness’ narrative of individuals. Mediating between geometric abstraction and figuration, Shapiro's hand painted wooden blocks assert a material priority. Although ostensibly Shapiro’s language of universality stands in contrast to Ness’ representation of a specific community of individuals, both artists share a common investigation into process and how material traces left behind from mark making, in both painting and sculpture, may communicate larger ideals."
Yet this is another revelation in Ness' career. She has had our attention now for years with her ability to paint an overhead view of our intimate lives and domestic spaces. Clutter and density are cared for. In these works, there is an obsession with craft and process, a sort of investigation of how we use space. She is also tying a thread between her peers and contemporaries, showing a communality and commonality even if the end results of artists remain different. Like the Shapiro sculpture that acts as a map to her paintings, Ness is enjoying this journey. —Evan Pricco