Stuart Shils: Recent Monotypes
16 November – 21 December ’13

Davis & Langdale Company, Inc.
231 East 60 Street
New York, N.Y.

All images © Stuart Shils. Courtesy of the artist and Davis & Langdale Company, Inc.

“I’ve been home from Italy since the beginning of September, so these images, these residues, are distillations of memory that can only come with time. Unlike working directly in nature, maybe what monotypes offered me, from the beginning, was a way of reflecting on an aspect that…is absolutely impossible to approach or to understand sitting in front of nature.”

That’s from Stuart Shils, back in 2011. He was talking with Neil Plotkin about Monotypes and Photographs, a show that ran at Davis & Langdale in the Spring of that year and that, for me, blew some received ideas about observation wide open. Again, Shils:

…the monotype has posed very serious questions about painting, about how to make a painting or what the painting is supposed to be. Not the way I was making paintings ten years ago, sitting in front of something and responding to it, but working away from the direct contact; whether it be through drawing, through memory, through some kind of interpretative reference to a photograph. … The real question is not what do we see…but how do we see–and what is our responsibility to it in terms of what we make…”

The twenty-one monotypes Mr. Shils now has on view at Davis & Langdale (all 2013) push the question of “how we see” further. Different from his 2011 show, overt reference to recognizable places (Naples, Padova, Tel Aviv, Union Square) is gone. Instead, layered Charbonnel etching ink, oil pastel and graphite communicate just the essential qualities of place: light, color–and perhaps most, temperature–filtered through Mr. Shils’s dual lenses of memory and time. (Thru 12/21.)

Editor’s Recs:
Watch: Stuart Shils: Making a Monotype, part I, part II.

Read: Stuart Shils’s Backstory for Tilted Arc here.

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