Over the years, David Shaw’s extensive body of work has incorporated a host of materials including fabric, metal, glass, and natural objects mostly consisting of tree branches found on the streets of NYC. On occasion his pieces reference minimalism’s formality. An austerity, which is playfully undermined through the use of holographic laminate – with its, at times, dazzling display of color and light – making Shaw’s works ultimately more expressive while betraying the cool surface of most minimalist objects.
By exploring the indistinct boundaries of nature, technology and consciousness, the artist has been striving to find ways to obtain a more complete notion of abstraction. One in which abstract thought is merged with consciousness and everyday experience.
Reflecting on preconceptions of the recognizable, the artist puts himself right in the middle of the dialogue between interiority and surface. In the artist’s own words: “The artifice employed to render a uniform surface can allude to an integral form, base units, cohesion, unity. This presents an opportunity to play on our preconceptions of the recognizable.” But what exactly constitutes a fundamental structure; is it created from within or with artifice?
The answers lie in the acknowledgment of the moment, in which perception comes before reasoning. There, where the state of becoming comes before the state of understanding and conscious identification is a moment where systems break down and accidents happen. In the edges of systems, the threshold areas and liminal spaces, a multitude of possibilities open up and more interesting structures are able to be in a state of flux, evolve, form and dissolve.
Shaw's use of holographic laminate and high-key, full spectrum color suggests double visions of his sculptures and gives the impression as if one can move through the surface of the object. It provides a way to see past the surface, into open possibilities. By referencing scientific and natural processes like synaptic activity, Shaw opens up a dialogue between surface and interiority, “indicative of a more permeable state,” which allows for takes on physical, formal and spiritual dimensions.
The focal point of his current exhibition, Other Fires, moves his quest further towards the outside edges of perception.
Recognizing, that everything around us is in fluctuation, the artist responds to this uncertain environment, by creating objects that – while standing resolute – simultaneously address questions of change, chaos, and the emotional implications of psychic rupture.
Now, more than ever, nature and technology have each become a manifestation of the other. This development, together with societies being in fluctuation, makes David Shaw's exploration, and the work resulting from it, even more intriguing and engaging.
This is David Shaw’s twenty-sixth solo exhibition and his first with envoy enterprises. He had seven solo exhibitions with Feature, Inc., the most recent being in 2013. He is a recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Award (2015) and the Nancy Graves Foundation Award for Visual Artists (2008). His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Artphilein Foundation in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and numerous private collections around the world. Shaw received his BA in Fine Arts from Colgate University in 1987. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.