40 x 30 inches
"The objects are made from wax-based non-drying clay so their surfaces appear skin-like and supple, contrasting with the hard-edged threat of the tools they vaguely echo. Centered, cross-lit, and presented greatly enlarged in black-and-white (the artist’s fingerprints are sometimes visible), they are factual renderings of fictional things.
The series relate to minimalist taxonomies (e.g., Bernd and Hilla Becher’s), Walker Evans’s portraits of tools, and in their formal composition, to Robert Mapplethorpe’s abstract and sexualized depictions of bodies and flowers. Shirreff’s photographs thus straddle, perhaps uneasily, the thin line between representation and abstraction: ambiguously defined objects are clearly itemized as their mottled surfaces are transformed into varying tones of light and dark.Shirreff never exhibits the objects themselves. Their portraits are left to speak for them, but in their formality silences remain. The generalities are there—these are base, elementary shapes—but in the end they are hauntingly blank. This affect of blankness and what it sets in motion, something that recurs throughout Shirreff’s practice, serves to highlight the process that we each engage in when we create meaning day to day."
c/o Lisa Cooley Fine Art New York.....
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