Joel Shapiro’s Gravity Defying Installation

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Interested in the floor, the wall, their flatness and the way his sculptures engage with both of them, artist Joel Shapiro’s installations and sculptures are dynamic and engaging.   Suspending sculptures at various points and angles throughout a space, Shapiro seeks to create a sense of movement that depends on the forms and their relationships to one another.  Though not site-specific, his installations are in direct dialogue with architecture.  Shapiro is compelled by what he refers to as that “capricious” moment where forms come together to become something else.

Born in Sunnyside, Queens to a physician and microbiologist Shapiro tried to follow his parents into science, but realized that he had to become an artist.  Of the need to make art he says, “You have to have some real drive and deep belief, a combination of ego and humility, so it’s difficult. You have to have some sense of self and have to have some doubting sense of self in order to externalize your interior, so it’s a peculiar combination of factors, at least in my case, that you sort of, in retrospect, allow. I’m always surprised that the work looks good!”

The extreme structural and architectural nature of Shapiro’s work, however, perhaps begs at that scientific inclination.  There is a precision to his abstraction that is challenging in the way it defies gravity and logic.  Catch his show currently up at LA Louver through January 14th.

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