Shaping: A group show

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present Shaping, a group show curated by Suzanne Laura Kammin.

In his essay The Shaper, Wallace Stevens referred to "constant shaping, as distinguished from constancy of shape", asserting “the uninterrupted activity of shaping dissipates the possibility of an ultimate shape." 


This exhibition features six artists who are "shapers", that is, engaged in the uninterrupted activity of shaping. They embrace the inherent uncertainty of the process, exploring tenuous relations and contrasts of medium, surface, color, and physicality. As individual artists, they share a strong affinity for the metaphoric potency of abstraction, and the power of the charged object. In the diversity of their various investigations, their work conveys a rich range of approaches to this shared poetic impulse. Their constant conviction is to the necessity of giving shape.


Steven Alexander explores the constant flux of sensory events in nature and in human perception. He is interested in the interaction between the painting and the viewer’s sensibility, as well as the painting’s potential to generate unspecified mobile meaning. Color operates in his work as a pure dynamic, capricious and evocative energy. The surfaces emphasize the sensual nature of the painting process, and the simple iconic configurations propose or imply archetypal tensions and dualities as interdependent aspects of an animate whole.


Jeff Conefry crafts sculptural objects inspired by the physical attributes of painting. He is particularly interested in how objects and actions create a physical narrative that is able to speak to ideas of both power and self. He favors a more direct presentation, and believes simple forms are able to express themselves more fundamentally. His goal is to present a situation that the viewer can engage with and unpack in a way that changes how the objects are perceived.


Deb Covell explores the material and sculptural potential of acrylic paint. She omits a traditional fixed support of a canvas or wooden panel, as she believes they are restricting and can influence the direction of the work too much at an early stage. Instead, she begins by painting layers of acrylic paint onto stretched plastic sheets, which are then peeled off to create a support. She then folds, creases, cuts and collapses these paint supports to let the natural behavior of the paint take precedent until new sculptural forms emerge.


Russell Floersch is inspired by the accumulation of paint applied to walls, doors and moldings that often produce unintended painterly surfaces. Relief shapes on the surface of his work are linked to his interest in erasure and the attempt to restore that loss. They derive from several sources: The missing sections within discarded photographs, the loops and spools within obsolete audio and video mechanisms, and the casual manner in which hardware, outlets and light switches are coated over several years with layers of wall paint. He uses a flattening agent to achieve a matte-like surface that is much like flat wall paint.


Suzanne Laura Kammin uses feminist icons as the subjects of her works on paper. This body of work grew out of a sense of urgency that stemmed from the recent announcement of the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the impending confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, and the resulting possibility of the reversal of Roe v. Wade. The women in her works are depicted as strong and confident, yet their gestural marks threaten the obliteration of their presence on the page.


Cecilia Vissers, in a career spanning more than three decades, has experimented widely with abstract and conceptual art practices. Working variously in metal sculpture, photography and printing techniques, Vissers' art references the wild landscapes of Ireland and Scotland. Her employment of industrial materials and techniques, as well as her overarching approach to her art practice, have precedents in constructivism and minimalism.