Stuart Shils: because i have no interest in those questions…

November 19 - December 21, 2014

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects is pleased to present “because i have no interest in those questions…,” a solo exhibition of new paintings, photographs and mixed media works by Stuart Shils. Shils is known as a painter of landscapes. He has worked from direct observation in Ireland, Italy, and in the Philadelphia area. In his 2012 exhibition, The Residue of Memory, his work became increasingly abstract based on visual and experiential memory of a place rather than direct perception. Shils has long been fascinated by the perceptual process and the many screens and filters that characterize each moment of looking. In this exhibition, he extends his consideration to the photographic lens.

Shils’ photographs depict the deteriorating buildings and peeling urban walls around downtown Philadelphia. His architectural subjects appear in a state of flux. The layers of paint on the façade of a building evoke seasons of decay, yet are captured in the click. David Cohen writes about the inter-relationship of Shils’ photography and painting, in his essay for Shils’ new book,

“His discovery is of correlatives of painting in the layering that exists—or rather that is revealed to exist through slow looking—within the humanly built environment. His photographic motifs often entail viewings through meshes and apertures and coming back at the viewer/photographer in mirrors or reflective panes—instances of observation that structurally mimic camera work. In much the same way, the palimpsest of screens and frames that characterize his photographic motifs are equivalents of a painting process that is somehow at once alla prima and layered, marked equally by impressionistic responses and minutely deliberative editing, a kind of temporal push-pull that exploits dichotomies of composure and snap.”

Shils’ corresponding paintings of urban architectures further blur the boundaries between representation and abstraction, observation and memory. Much like the walls he photographs, the layered surfaces of his paintings reveal the history of their making. His beautiful compositions of shifting color and shape evoke the impression of place. Shils also paints on top of his photographs, creating mesmerizing images that further reveal the interconnectedness of his mediums and the fluidity of time, place and memory.

Stuart Shils studied at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Seymour Remenick and at the Philadelphia College of Art. He is the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This is his second solo exhibition at the gallery. Concurrent with the exhibition is an artist book with an essay by David Cohen. Shils will also be speaking at the gallery on Saturday,
Dec 13 at at 2pm. Please contact the gallery at 917-861-7312 or for more information.