Artists Reception: I Am Not An Army | Alameda
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Submitted by the Event Organizer
Autobody Fine Art is proud to present a solo exhibition of work by artist James Shefik. The exhibition, “I Am Not An Army,” explores the relationship of aesthetics to aggression, beauty to embattlement, and argues for a more comprehensive understanding of the way in which conflict is represented and memorialized through images.
Shefik’s work ranges from large scale installations that directly reference the human form, particularly through absence or loss, to smaller, more discreet objects. The beautifully crafted and delicate bombs whose frameworks of balsa defy the heavy weight of intentionality sear themselves into our collective memory. Wrapped in brown paper, postmarked Oakland, bearing a hand rendered stamp of Cesar Chavez, and studded with strategically sharpened pencils, one bomb bursting with both promise and defeat contrasts sharply with the skeletal black structure of another whose cavity is filled with numbered balls. Games of chance played alongside forgone conclusions.
Materials are frequently manipulated to reference properties that are at odds with their specific nature. An anvil is forged from what appears to be molten and burnt marshmallow, and dowels of wood are carefully crafted into replicas of struck matches that then reform themselves as elements in an elaborate pun. A battleship in bas relief, built from fake matches and emblazoned with the word “worship” makes a poetic comment as it derails a bad pun. The spent “matches” are the relic of (an assumed) incendiary action, and Shefik’s work often implies situations where the subject is either anticipated or departed. A level of quiet obsession haunts these artworks. A perfectly manufactured, miniaturized chair sits alone inside a three dimensional studded labyrinth in the artwork “Thornbox.” It is an environment stilled by the absence of a protagonist, a taught stage set inviting the audience to complete the narrative as they reference personal experience.
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Categories: Art & Museums, East Bay