The drawings and sculptures of Drew Shiflett are sensuous and tactile, yet capable of transcending their own physicality to embrace both pathos and comedic self-consciousness. Growing up in a theatrical family, it was natural that Drew Shiflett’s first artistic ventures would be in the performing arts. But as an adolescent she evidenced an affinity for the visual when, inspired by a Matisse exhibition at the nearby Chicago Art Institute, she feverishly embarked on a series of cut, assembled and glued collages.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: Lesley Heller Workspace Archive
Drew Shiflett’s solo exhibition “Paper and Canvas–Constructed Drawings”, is the artist’s 4th solo exhibition with Lesley Heller Workspace in New York. Shiflett cuts handmade paper and canvas into thin strips before gluing and layering the pieces into intuitive grids which she further marks with a hatching of graphite, ink, watercolor and Conté crayon. The drawings document the passage of time and expand the moment of initial gaze into a meditation into the archaeology of her process. The results are densely layered compositions that straddle a space between sculpture and drawing and meticulously explore the concentrated landscape of the grid. The tactile presence of Shiflett’s constructed drawings emerges from an intuitive and cumulative process that incorporates delicate repetitive mark making on collaged and woven fragments of handmade papers. In tandem with her patient approach to developing the rich drawing surface with layers of translucent papers that form the armature of her works, Shiflett’s fluid linear elements also evolve slowly. The neutral earthy palette of the artist’s drawing materials, paired with the luminosity of her favored papers provides her work with an atmospheric depth that is often boundless. While undeniably considered in their making, Shiflett’s meditative practice imbues her untitled works with an expansive quality, as she achieves physical manifestations forboth personal and universal memories.
Info: Lesley Heller Workspace, 54 Orchard Street, New York, Duration: 17/5-30/6/17, Days & hours: Wed-Sat 11:00-18:00, Sun 12:00-18:00, www.lesleyheller.com