Two of my talented colleagues at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts have solo shows in Chelsea this month. At Claire Oliver, Judith Schaechter presents beautiful but disturbing stained glass lightboxes and kiln-cast glass sculptures about sex and death, and at Bruce Silverstein, Eileen Neff explores perception, mirroring, and memory in an installation of staged and often manipulated photographic images.
[ Image at top: Judith Schaechter, Harpy, stained glass lightbox, 37 x 33 x 2 inches.]
A fusion of medieval manuscript illustration, carnival signage, and 1960s album cover mayhem and mysticism, Judith Schaechter’s intensely detailed imagery and finely wrought glass sculptures speak of inadequacy and defeat; the sagging skin, sunken eyes, and acute boniness of her characters suggest a heartbreaking failure to thrive. “My main interests are sex and death with romance and violence the obvious runners up,” Schaechter says. “I’m trying to be as cliche, sentimental and decorative as possible, not as a strategy for ironic commentary about sentimentality but because this is the stuff that time and time again I am drawn to, obsessed with–that I have faith in.”
“Eileen Neff: A Prologue,” Bruce Silverstein, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through October 25, 2014.
“Judith Schaechter: Dark Matter,” Claire Oliver, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through October 25, 2014.
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