An enigmatic use of space, evocative colors, and a strong line define the paintings of Kate Shepherd, who presents her third solo exhibition at Galerie Lelong. The paintings continue her investigation of physical and metaphorical space and the emotional resonance of color, while also introducing new elements to Shepherd’s established formal language. No Title Here will open on Thursday, October 18, from 6 to 8 pm, and the artist will be present.
In her unique approach to painting, Shepherd applies threadlike lines of oil paint upon highly saturated and glossy layers of enamel. The refined lines suggest common structures and patterns—a scaffold, a trapeze, lace, rain—which are recognizable and invoke personal associations and recollections. The delicate and intimately familiar forms are juxtaposed against the slick, durable enamel, a paint often used for architectural and industrial surfaces. Furthermore, joined wood panels, rather than canvas, are the base of Shepherd’s paintings, creating a structure out of the painting itself. The subtle seams between panels often represent shifts between literal or figurative ideas, separating sky from sea, a window from its sill, or different perspectives.
Formally precise yet highly expressive, the paintings speak of collective experiences and environments. In the alluring, reflective surfaces, the viewer can literally be drawn into the statuesque or expansive paintings. The drawn line, though, is what characterizes Shepherd’s practice and individualizes each work. “Line,” says the artist, “is the voice of the painting: its moment, personality, and imperfections.” In Shepherd’s new works are developments in her treatment of the line, as she diverges from her usual white line to incorporate different hues and represents movement in an approach unseen in previous works. Created with a minimalist sensibility and a forthright hand, Shepherd’s works are at once quiet, candid, and compelling.
Since Shepherd’s 2004 exhibition Wall, Floor, Rocky Crag, Shepherd has shown in solo and group exhibitions in Paris, Basel, Madrid, New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Most recently, she was chosen as the featured artist for the 2007 Roland-Garros tournament poster and exhibited in the stadium’s Tenniseum. Her work can be found in many public collections across the United States and Europe, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A catalogue of selected works since 2003, with texts by Susan Harris and Deborah Solomon, was published in conjunction with No Title Here and is available at the gallery.