After hosting the first solo shows in Italy of the young artists Shirana Shahbazi and Michal Helfman, Cardi Gallery continues its program with an exhibition of the American abstract painter Scott Short (1964), with his first one-man show in Europe.
The exhibition will feature a selection of about twenty recent works - many of large size - aiming to explore painting practice and the process behind image making. Scott Short works between copy and original, technical reproduction and manual labour, overturning the relationship between abstraction and representation. The works see their origin in a mechanical process of reproduction, where the element of randomness becomes the very source of the artist’s inspiration.
Starting by making a photocopy of an unmarked sheet of white or coloured construction paper, the artist successively copies it hundreds of times. What remains on the sheet is nothing but the accumulation of the previous steps, the dust on the glass, the ink of the machine, the error. Using a slide, Short eventually projects the result onto canvas or paper: after testing different size and orientation possibilities, he begins the meticulous work of transposition, copying the copy, a process transforming the copy into a new original. Short takes a step back, chance assumes a key role in the process: he allows for the invisible to emerge, and he turns it all into image. The photocopier becomes a tool for creation in Scott Short’s hand, a machine which does not drain meaning from the original but creates original new works from nearly nothing.
Short’s practice stands at the threshold between abstraction and representation. Clusters of tiny dots of oil or ink paint are not only charged with landscape qualities, but have also a strong sculptural presence, enhanced by the monumental scale of the paintings. The colour, an element retained as information in lieu of titles, becomes an echo commemorating the source - yet unknowable - of this process.
Even if he delegates the formal construction of the image to the photocopier, the artist remains the one not only creating the occasion, but also recognizing the potential in the image and choosing to paint it. This way, the hard work of transposition onto canvas or paper allows him to correlate mechanical reproduction, randomness and authorship.
From the artist’s painstaking process of elaboration and production, and from every artwork - regardless of its subject and medium - clearly emerges the presence of a starting and an end point: the artist is the only author.
Scott Short’s painting practice triggers a dialogue between abstraction and representation, always characterised by a strong conceptual mark. Form and matter’s seduction of this abstract imagery impresses the retina, in a game of blacks and whites, offering a fresh, interesting analysis on painting.