Jancar Jones Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibit of new work by San Francisco-based artist Orion Shepherd. The show will include a combination of drawings, paintings, and collages in found frames.
Conceived of as a response to a collection of gold and silver-colored thrift store frames, Shepherd’s current body of work addresses the mechanisms by which the work of art has become delineated. Through drawn or collaged studies of institutional apparatuses such as museum and gallery floors bounded by mock gilt plaster and metal frames, he emphasizes structures that are intended to be ignored or overlooked. Using a combination of Greek, Neoclassical, and Catholic iconography, he simultaneously traces and places the history of high art within the context of modern, mass produced referents, paradoxically combining the banal and the sublime.
Shepherd deliberately imitates a sense of the highly ornamented frames typical in the presentation of Renaissance masterworks, in spite of the contemporary trend to deemphasize or remove the frame, all together. He asserts that the frame, regardless of form, still remains as a convention by which to elevate that which is framed. By inverting emphasis, favoring the frame over the artwork his choice of subjects (1960s picture postcards of the Los Angeles County Museum, images of Greek ruins clipped from issues of National Geographic, and side-by-side portraits of football coach Bill Walsh and the pope) maintain a level of irreverent nostalgia and history consistent with the frames themselves. Although depicting historical monuments and figures, the print quality of the collaged elements consciously contradict the original, perhaps awe-inspiring, subject, suggesting a kitschy sentimentality as opposed to opulent reverence. While the frames, at the time of their production, were meant to evoke a sense of the richness and beauty of the “classical,” the benign neglect of such cheap, disposable objects over time has inevitably functioned to heighten their value as modern ruins.
Orion Shepherd received his BFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco. His work has been exhibited at Adobe Books, Needles and Pens, Mollusk, Park Life, Baer Ridgway Exhibitions and the Luggage Store Gallery, all in San Francisco.