Galerie Lelong & Co. is pleased to present Surveillance, a solo exhibition of work created in the past year by New York–based artist Kate Shepherd. Known for her richly colored paintings built with layers of monochromatic enamel, Shepherd here charts new territory in her decades-long exploration of perspectival space. Chief among Shepherd’s concerns in these works is their relationship to their environs; the various reflective surfaces establish a spatial discourse across the panel, the viewer, and the gallery space.
Surveillance presents two bodies of work conceived and executed in tandem. The first group, on display in the main gallery, incorporates chromatic trapezoids that cut through the picture plane. These shapes—which the artist calls “surrogate paintings”—function as architectonic premises, delineating volume and the space between them. Shepherd defines these forms through difference in textures, rather than with her signature fine lines. In many of these works, she interrupts the glossy quality of the enamel, sanding large areas down to produce velvety fields that show pentimenti of color and faint lines of obliterated brushstrokes. These shifts in color and finish complicate how distinct areas of the painting reflect their surroundings and ultimately create a push-pull. Being situationally reactive to light and movement, the paintings take on sculptural characteristics in their constant change.
On view in the smaller gallery, a second body of work recalls the daguerreotype’s image-making process. Shepherd begins these works by leaning paintings in her studio at varied angles, allowing the paintings’ environments to be reflected within their compositions. The artist then photographs the painting and using the same enamel paint, screen prints this image onto a panel. Born out of this referential loop, these works evince a dialogue with memory and the act of surveillance.
Concurrent with the gallery’s presentation, Shepherd is exhibiting in the group show Unapologetic: All Women, All Year at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) through January 31, 2021. Updated (4.7.2020): In line with public health guidelines, Shepherd's lecture at The Menil Collection in Houston has been postponed. Shepherd's work Yellow Shunning Figure (2008) is part of the Menil permanent collection and remains on view in the galleries.
Born in 1961 in New York City, Kate Shepherd continues to live and work there. Her work is featured in numerous museum collections, including The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; The Microsoft Art Collection; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. Solo exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held at institutions including The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas.
On April 10, 2020, Art in America editor Will Smith and Kate Shepherd got on Zoom to discuss her new body of abstract paintings and how they can connect with viewers in today's virtual settings. Watch the recording here.
Aired on April 15, 2020, Kate Shepherd was a guest on The Modern Art Notes podcast with Tyler Green for the "Pandemic Bonus Episode." In the episode, Shepherd shared how her works in Surveillance were developed over six years, reflecting on the current situation and what it means to her as an artist. Listen to the episode here.