States Of Being

The Fall

Feb 09 – Mar 10, 2007
513 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011

Press Release


The Fall

February 9 – March 10, 2007

Opening on February 9, 2007, Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new sculptures by South African artist Claudette Schreuders. In 2004, Schreuders was the subject of a major one-person exhibition entitled The Long Day at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, which traveled to the University Art Museum, San Diego State University, CA; Hand Art Center in Richmond, VA. and the Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA. Recent group exhibitions include Since 2000: Printmaking Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Personal Affects, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI (both 2006); Season South Africa, organized by the Museum of African Art, NY and exhibited at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (2004); Coexistence, The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2003); Voices of South Africa, The British Museum, London, England (2000); and Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa, The Museum for African Art, New York, NY [traveled to Austin Museum of Art, Austin, TX and The University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tuscon, AZ] (1999). This will be Schreuders third solo exhibition at Jack Shainman Gallery.

Inspired by the traditional “Colon,” sculptural portraits of European colonists made by West African artists as a form of ancestor worship, Claudette Schreuders’s carved wooden figures have a uniquely-charged physical presence. The artist also employs family photographs and literature as source material, deeply traversing her personal experience as a white descendent of colonial settlers in Apartheid-era South Africa. Using her materials as vessels for themes of isolation, alienation, and dislocation, Schreuders uses a quasi-naïve style – her figures typically have disproportionately large heads – to imbue them with vulnerability, and, sometimes, a sense of paranoia. This quality, juxtaposed with the physical weight of her chosen medium, allows the works to fully transcend caricature or mere references to personality. Instead, Schreuders’s sculptures carry an emotional and transcendental “otherness” – they are at once hauntingly real and deceptively fictionalized surrogates for human emotions.

This exhibition is named after one of the pieces in the show entitled The Fall and strongly refers to the narrative & iconography of the Biblical story. The pieces on exhibition are not necessarily concerned with religious meanings, but rather explore the various stages of a relationship between two people. The piece entitled The Beginning was inspired by a medieval broadsheet print depicting the creation of Eve. The sculpture is a reinterpretation of the original image, focusing on the intense connection between two people at the start of a relationship. The serpent in this story is The Trespasser, a “third person” or outsider to the relationship. Even though there is a strong narrative element to this group, there is no clear linear progression.

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