Solo exhibition by Alice Shaw - "Cloned" at Gallery 16

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Friday, 6 April 2018 to Saturday, 26 May 2018
Friday, 6 April 2018 - 6:00pm

Gallery 16 is pleased to present Cloned by San Francisco-based artist Alice Shaw in her the sixth solo exhibition with the gallery. Using imagery of a single sheep, the artist examines the tension between the antiquated photo subject and the contemporary perspective. Serving as a potent symbol, the sheep is a stand-in allowing Shaw to reference a past era—a time when farm animals were more ubiquitous in early-twentieth-century photography—and the cloning ability of the photograph with its near limitless ability to reproduce multiples from a single original. The new collection continues Shaw’s exploration on dichotomy and duplication while marking a shift in her practice with an outward-versus-autobiographical perspective. Cloned is comprised of photographic works that include both traditional and digital photos, stereo images and sculptural pieces.

Drawn to binaries since her early entry into photography, Alice Shaw has always kept a Diane Arbus book in her mind—the one planted on the family bookshelf growing up. The book cover bore the Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967. The twins fascinated Shaw as she noted their distinct similarities and differences. At 17, Shaw’s mother gave birth to her twin sisters—the pair later became frequent photo subjects of the artist’s, deepening her interest in twinning. Past projects have often centered on the mirroring that manifests in self-portraits, as well as side-by-side comparisons seeking commonalities with unlikely others.

For Cloned, Shaw continues her exploration on duality by paying homage to rural photographs while repositioning them through a contemporary lens. The artist associates B&W images of animals with a bygone era, recalling a time when regal portrayals of livestock and farms were prevalent in the early twentieth century. Shaw selects the sheep to represent the past, as the quintessential symbol of cloning and as the basis for which Shaw discusses the photograph's ability to reproduce. While Cloned takes on a vintage quality, the artist presents her subject in newer constructions including structured dimensional pieces, a repetition of form via stereo camera, and side-by-side positive and negative prints. Shaw’s images evoke contrast and comparison, inviting a dialogue between the authenticity of the subject versus its duplicity when considering an original and its identical replication.

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Alice Shaw often infuses humor into her artwork. Though she was educated as a photographer she also utilizes other art forms to realize her concepts. Shaw is an Artadia Grant Awardee and is included in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gallery 16 published her book, People Who Look Like Me, in 2006. In August of 2017 her permanent large-scale public artwork, No Other Lands Their Glory Know, was installed at The San Francisco International Airport in terminal G95.

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Gallery 16 is located in San Francisco California and this year celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1993 by artist Griff Williams, the gallery's primary focus is to represent and advocate the work of living contemporary artists. In addition to the regular exhibition schedule, Gallery 16 sponsors artist talks and hosts performances and music throughout the year. It is Williams' belief that the brick and mortar gallery model—to remain culturally relevant—needs to embody new strategies for facilitating and presenting artist projects. As Williams describes it, “We don’t create exhibitions around curatorial agendas, but support living artists by offering them the opportunity to challenge themselves without restrictions.”   

The Gallery 16 exhibition program functions alongside their print studio which operates under the imprint Gallery 16 Editions. Among the first print studios in the United States to combine traditional and digital print methods to create original artist editions, Gallery 16 continues to publish print editions, artist books, and multiples.

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