Joel Shapiro: Up Down Around

September 27, 2012October 23, 2012

Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl is pleased to present new works by Joel Shapiro, on view in the gallery from September 27 – October 23, 2012. On Thursday, September 27, the gallery will host a reception for the artist, from six to eight pm.

Up Down Around, 2011, is a series of five colorful screenprint/lithographs of connected geometric forms that creatively reach out, both horizontally and vertically, towards the margins of the paper. Shapiro’s latest collaboration with the Los Angeles-based Gemini G.E.L. workshop explores the artist’s adeptness in translating the language of sculpture into the two-dimensional realm via his considerable expertise in printmaking. With intentionally misaligned elements stacked one on top of another, oscillating between stability and precariousness, this series has moved closer towards abstraction and revels in its ambiguity. The five images feature distinctively unique forms, and range broadly from electric and bold to slightly muted coloring. Nevertheless, the prints have been named to indicate one cohesive series, titled Up Down Around (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e).

Through the layering of lithography on screenprinting, Shapiro is able to achieve an abundance of expressive possibilities. In a visual characteristic typically associated with Shapiro’s pastel drawings, bits of colorful scuff-marks arbitrarily surround the otherwise crisp shapes. These marks appear to be completely unintentional, and yet the pairing of the lithographic and screenprint process requires exceptionally precise attention to detail.

Although a greatly respected printmaker and draftsman, Joel Shapiro is perhaps best-known for his sculptures in which he manipulates volume, space, weight and mass with extraordinary dexterity. The tension within his energetic forms is heightened by severe angles created by intersecting blocks of wood or bronze, or in the case of his prints and drawings, through color and form. Many of his sculptures and works on paper, though grounded in geometry, hold visible references to the human figure. That boundary between abstraction and figuration was explored in his 2009 Gemini screenprints titled Boat, Bird, Mother and Child, in which he playfully juxtaposed crisp, colored forms.

Born and raised in New York City, Shapiro is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture. His work has been included in countless group exhibitions and has been the subject of nearly 150 solo exhibitions since he began his career in 1970 with his groundbreaking show at the Paula Cooper Gallery.

Joel Shapiro, Up Down Around (a), 2011
Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro, Up Down Around (b), 2011
Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro, Up Down Around (c), 2011
Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro, Up Down Around (e), 2011
Joel Shapiro