Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Julia Shepley: OUT / IN

On my last trip to the gallery, I had the privilege of catching Julia Shepley in the middle of installing her latest show, “OUT/IN.” When I first walked in, I was immediately drawn to the transformation of the gallery environment. The walls, which I last saw painted solid white, had been painted gray in spots to split the front gallery into sections. The gray and white boundaries served as natural frames for the installation, and felt as if they had always meant to be there. Shepley also planned on painting parts of the floor white in order to cast the necessary shadows for the suspended Sky Habitation. It was intriguing to see the use of manipulating an environment to further the artistic experience.

While speaking with Shepley, I was able to delve deeper into the details of her current project. As an artist, Shepley is interested in things that she finds delicate and elusive. She wants things to be viewed as transitory. Take the carved chairs of Sky Habitation, for example, which were meant to be viewed as if they are changing. They are not there as a mere representation of solid objects. They are meant to be pondered as they turn with their shadows ever so slightly with the gently flowing air. With this, Shepley captures a moment of rest, like when a person zones out momentarily, and then snaps back to reality, and in a fleeting second, that feeling is gone. This is some of what she is attempting to recreate. In each of her carved chairs there is also a reference to the person, as well as an association with trees, sky, and architecture.

There are also multiple drawings around the front gallery, some of which she is using cloud, and storm imagery, while some of the others are a beginning of a collaboration she is doing with a Swedish scientist who is studying antibodies.
Shepley sometimes changes the materials she uses in her work, such as wood, resin and glass. However, the one consistency the stays the same is what she is trying to get across.

OUT / IN is on view through Nov. 7. Posted by Boston Sculptors intern Jen Costa.

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