Outside In

Andrea Belag Susanna Coffey Elliott Green Stephanie Pierce Eleanor Ray November 30 - January 7, 2017

Outside In is an exhibition of five painters whose work explores the tensions between spaces. Andrea Belag does this with a reductive painterly vocabulary, where physical movements of color demarcate one space, and provide entry into another. Susanna Coffey makes portraits that verge on abstraction: melding her depiction of the person with his or her interior life, and a fictional landscape space. Elliott Green’s work is characterized by a feeling that disparate elements and means are combined into an unlikely, but synthesized, whole. Stephanie Pierce shows us, simultaneously, interior space, exterior space, and the in-between of reflections on the window. In Eleanor Ray’s paintings, depictions of doorways or framed views give us access to two worlds, with together feel like a dream-space.

Andrea Belag studied at Bard College, Boston University, and the New York Studio School, and has been a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, New York, since 1995. She is known for her abstractions where liquid, saturated color is applied with a broad, transparent stroke. She uses a variety of tools, including custom made, wide brushes, rags, knifes, and spatulas. Recently, she has been painting on wood panels, and allowing the surface and grain of the wood to become an element in the work. A solo exhibition of her work was held at DCKT Contemporary in 2014. The title of her painting “Krushenick (After Hokusai)” is a testament to how diverse visual sources and suggestions of varied emotional states can inform one, very immediate, direct painting.

Susanna Coffey studied at Yale University and is the F.H. Sellers Professor in Painting at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. She is known for her portraits and self-portraits, and also works across the genres of still-life and landscape. In recent work, she has utilized spray painting with stencils, to explore the ideas of masking, symmetry, mirroring, and abstract signifiers. “Late Snow” is densely worked, with a blue-white form, textured like snow-covered earth, but also suggesting a ghostlike, obscured head and face. She has been the subject of two solo exhibitions at SHFAP, in 2012 and 2014.

Elliott Green studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and lives in upstate New York. He was the G in Team ShaG, a collaborative art trio with Amy Sillman and David Humphrey. But even his solo work can feel like collaboration with himself: as biomorphic forms, knifed swaths of paint, and cartoony, graphite-drawn characters all converge in an Asian-feeling landscape space. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented by D’Amelio Terras and Postmasters Gallery. This is the first time the artist’s work is being shown at SHFAP.

Eleanor Ray studied at Amherst College and the New York Studio School. She is known for small paintings (often 4 x 6 inches or 5 x 7 inches) of places and spaces she has visited and photographed. The studio of the artist (hers and others – for example, Donald Judd and Cézanne), and the depiction of other art are subjects of ongoing investigation. Her precise, clear mark, and specificity of light, gives the paintings clarity and resonance that extends way beyond their literal size. At the same time, the painterly gesture and the way they are cropped makes them feel like portals into dreamscapes. In this exhibition, she includes paintings of a barn-studio she occupied during a residency in Montauk, Long Island; Iceland landscapes; and museum rooms with Mondrian paintings.

Stephanie Pierce was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and studied at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her paintings — of rooms, windows, textiles, and plants (outside and in) — are composed of a multitude of small marks and shards of color, each one distinct. It is a record of a devotional, patient form of looking, translated into a painterly process of responding, accruing, and removing. The resulting paintings feel like an almost magical synthesis of light, time, place, and surface – shimmering and in constant flux.