Utilising optics and simple scientific methods, the artist brings an atmosphere of experimentation to his photographic prints, kinetic and interactive sculpture and mixed-media works, many of which expose the falsehoods that underpin our everyday experience of the physical world.
Among the counter-intuitive pieces in the show is Balancing Pole, a metal pole suspended horizontally from a ribbon that loops round it impossibly far over to one side.
One room of the gallery is dedicated to a body of work that circles around the Martini glass. “I think of the Martini glass as a form, something like a haiku or a limerick for a writer, through which I can channel many different things.” Wobble is a Martini sculpture that lurches and hiccups through a drunken dance while Spike is an outsized prong impaling several years' worth of Shulman's personal Martini bar bills covered in gold leaf – 'literally, the gilding of wasted time'.
A series of scratched and scarified photographic prints from the original 1933 movie of King Kong approaches the theme from another angle where Kong stands as an icon of the drinker and Fay Wray as the addictive and alluring object, her shape in the stills echoing a Martini glass.
Another body of work extends the artist’s exploration of light. In response to paintings that have represented light as a solid object in the form of halos or the shafts seen in ascension paintings, Halo renders light as sculpture by creating a luminous 3-D sphere that hovers round a candle flame, while Lilac Ray projects a shard of light from a black cone. The exhibition also includes the mixed media piece Light Bulb, where the light that appears to be cast by a bulb is, in fact, an idealized, painted interpretation.
A Small Piece of My Father is made from the cremated remains of Shulman’s father. The process of making the piece began by extracting as much iron as possible from the ashes, followed by sieving and filtering the remains in search of fragments of different shades of black, white and grey, a meditative process Shulman has compared to sitting shivah over the dead. He then arranged the remains in tonal bands within a phial, with the magnetic iron fragments at one end. The work has it’s own level of mortality, held in suspension by a magnetic field, it rests in a fragile state of grace, suspended between life and death.
Some Work reveals Shulman as a sculptor whose unique visual language, extending into photography, film and painting, constantly returns to experimenting with the delusiveness of perception.