Elisheva Biernoff makes work about things on the edge of perception -- the invisible, overlooked and endangered. Look Out, her first solo show at Eli Ridgway Gallery, is a romantic investigation of lost artifacts, taking form as meticulous miniature paintings and two video installations.
Biernoff's trompe l'oeil paintings on thin plywood recapture discarded ephemera, from personal snapshots to common playing cards. In pairing paintings of found photographs, she suggests loose associations between unrelated pictures -- sometimes through enigmatic categories like "indoor plants," other times imagining the two photographic images as separate frames of a continuous scene. House of Cards is comprised of 15 two-sided paintings arranged as a sculptural house of cards. Each card depicts a cultural attainment (such as an iconic painting by Ingres) or historically note worthy figure (like John Muir) on the verso. The piece is at once a celebration of human accomplishment and a recognition of its precariousness.
Her two video works toy with the possible existence of things outside our experience and perception. In Hide & Seek, a 180 degree projection evokes a forest glade at night, illuminated by a moving flashlight beam.
The beam tracks the sound of rustling in the foliage, but never reveals the source of the sound, leaving the audience suspended on the threshold of discovery. Mountains of Instead uses the illusionary theatrical technique of Pepper's Ghost to reflect a projection of a unicorn onto a small diorama of oblivious grazing horses -- a spectacular mythical beast makes an appearance but goes unnoticed.
Elisheva Biernoff has studied at Slade School of London, Yale University, and California College of the Arts. She has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the Bay Area including those at the CCA Wattis Institute, Triple Base Gallery, Root Division, Eli Ridgway Gallery and Headlands Center for the Arts. Biernoff's work is included in the collection of the Kadist Art Foundation. She lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
Elisheva is currently included in That's What I Figure, a group exhibition curated by Renny Pritikin for Kondos Gallery, Sacramento State University. That's What I Figure is on view through February 22, 2013.