Shifting Space is a collaborative site-specific installation located in the Front Space at ISE Cultural Foundation consisting of two-dimensional mixed media works and integrated wall drawings by artists Lisa Pressman and Krista Svalbonas. This exhibition is an experimental exploration of the artists’ different approaches to urban architecture and temporality.
The artists’ collaborative process began with a response to the gallery space, a muted nostalgic foyer with Art Deco light fixtures, inlaid geometric floor designs and vintage elevators. Visiting the site at various times of day, the artists documented via photography the inner and outer framework of the gallery and SoHo neighborhood to serve as the basis for their visual expression. As a result, their work refers to a wide range of imagery, such as cast iron, stone and brick facades, sleek columns, angled window frames and Art Deco patterns. Collectively, their work directly reflects the continuous excavation and renovation of the urban landscape in New York.
Although the artists referred to the same contextual imagery and collaboratively decided the parameters for color palette, scale and the choice of industrial insulation materials as their substrates, this exhibition showcases the artists’ distinctly different styles and processes. Starting with an immediate visceral response, working intuitively, and exploring the dialogue between the incidental and intentional, Pressman plays with translucent and opaque layers of oils, collage, wax and other mixed media. Her works evolve over time, resulting in expressive abstract paintings that allude to a personalized time and space. Svalbonas’ practice is research- and conceptually driven. She extracts elements of the built environment to become the forms of abstract geometric structural paintings and wall drawings. She builds and overlaps layers of mixed media, allowing the straight-edged geometric forms to distort the viewer’s perception of depth and width, as well as echoing the organization of a city grid.
The collaborative site-specific wall drawing pulls colors from the exterior facades of SoHo and forms from the Art Deco elements of the ISE front space. These elements are integrated with Pressman’s and Svalbonas’ paintings, creating a further dialogue about interior and exterior.