Shoshana Wayne Gallery presents Lift Me Up So I Can See Better by Shirley Tse featuring over thirty new sculptures and a hand-made collaborative book. This is the Los Angeles based artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view July 09 through September 03, 2016, with an opening preview on Saturday, July 9th from 5-7pm.
Taking Oscar Wilde’s 1888 book “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” as her point of departure, Tse’s new body of work evokes the form of eyeballs as her sculptures address both seeing and the position from which one sees. As an adult re-reading this story, Tse was struck by the Prince’s ability to see “all the ugliness and misery of [his] city” once he was set up high on a column outside the walls of his Palace. Tse perceives Wilde’s parable as particularly prescient of our socio-economic climate, where gaps between classes and cultures are widening at an alarming rate. Analogous to Wilde’s townspeople, who were gifted the Prince’s sapphire eyes and rubies from his sword, Tse received an unexpected gift of blown glass remnants from the Estate of Miriam Wosk, a recently deceased artist. Contemplating the possibility that generosity may flow if one is able to see from a different vantage point, Tse utilizes the gestures of ascending, reaching and telescoping with the incorporation of C-stands, boom microphone stands, tripods, and stadium bleachers throughout the exhibition. Seeking a broader perspective also suggests the possibility of turning passive spectatorship into active spectatorship. Various colors of glass chunks housed in different materials exhibit themselves as heterogeneous sculptures hovering between the figurative and the abstract, the found objects and the imagined forms, the literal and the metaphorical.
“J….” a limited edition hand-made artist book, is exhibited for the first time in the West Gallery. At the invitation of Gervais Jassaud, Tse collaborated with French writer Michel Butor whereby she produced a visual response to Butor’s poem, “J….” In Tse’s words, “I usually work with sculpture and installation. The prospect of making “work on paper” was liberating for me. Literally, textually and metaphorically, Butor’s words provide the architecture for these sculptural explorations on paper. I want to honor the sense of place, the richness of texture, and the obliqueness in “J….” My artwork may not be congruent with the mental images evoked by the words. When the reader/viewer negotiates between the two modes of experience, it is where richness resides.”
For more than twenty years, Tse has dedicated her practice to visualizing heterogeneity through sculpture, installation, photography, and text. From multiplicity of difference on the same plane, to negotiation of an integrated whole, strategies are as various as putting competing aesthetics under the same roof, examining the semiotics of plastics, expanding the language of movement, using found objects as suspension of subjectivity, researching concurrent narratives, conflating scales, destabilizing categories and calling attention to the interstitial.
- Shirley Tse, Bamboo Extension, 2016
- Shirley Tse in the Studio