Head to Head

I first saw Mindy Shapero’s work at Art Basel Miami in 2007 (left), at the booth of the the Athens-based gallery, The Breeder. It was a huge black ball—more like a boulder, really—embellished with beads and shiny trinkets. The other side was concave, its gold-leafed surface painted with three ovals, like eyes and mouth. The work was organic and mysteriously familiar; at the same time it was one of the satisfyingly oddest things I’d seen.

The Los- Angeles-based Shapero recently had a solo show, Breaking Open the Head, at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in Chelsea. The mystery became a little more literal with an exhibition that included three large mask-like sculptures. There were eyes and mouth all right; whole large faces, along with smaller linear sculptures of the face in profile.

Installation view of Breaking Open the Head at Marianne Boesky Gallery, September 10-October 22

Above and below: Outer and inner views of  One who knows otherness because you have seen it with your own closed eyes (after passing through the portal and losing your insides), 2011, painted fiberglass, gold and acrylic,
22.5 x 39 x 48 inches

The work seems to have contrary impulses. On the one hand there’s a material craftiness to Shapero’s work, with bright colors and hand-made objects. On the other, there’s a metaphysical quality, something spiritual by way of a hallucinogen (or maybe the other way around). I find myself responding to both.

The show is now over, but you can see more on the gallery website, here.

Two views of the work on view upon entering the gallery. The plinth on which these works rest creates a theatrical space, the objects, which read almost as figures, a kind of performance


annell said...

thank you so much for the post.

Jane Housham said...

Terrific, thank you. Puts me in mind of Louise Bourgeois a little.

Nancy Natale said...

I like this work, especially the piece with the radiating stripes inside the head (I think it's inside?). The gold-painted head is also interesting and reminiscent of so much ancient funerary art. Thanks for posting!