Carefully knotted, painted, and stippled, my works are time-consuming. Like ape ancestors who bonded by the insanely focused activity of picking the nits out of each other’s hair, my tolerance for tedium seems like an instinct from long ago. My art practice is not only concerned with creating lulling, repetitive patterns, but is also concerned with creating an empathetic bond between myself and other people, objects, and histories. Moments of unruliness and deadpan humor emerge from the visual order I create and serve as an antidote to self-loathing and perfectionistic tendencies.
My most recent works all have alluring but gross qualities. The fake gold leotard on the figure in the large painting is painstakingly rendered in oil and reveals pubic hair that clashes with the ideal prepubescent gymnast body. The trophy is a memento and on its own is not that impressive. I wanted to show the absurdity of the object through painting a portrait of myself mimicking the pose of the miniscule figurine on top of the trophy. I use my own hair as both a marker of identity and as a bodily artifact. The detail in some of the hair works invites attention, yet repulses when it breaks down into tangles and hangs off the end of a pin or knot. Calligraphy, hair craft, and traditional oil painting all serve to create an historicized veneer leading to a collision of time periods when I reference pop songs and
modern spandex fabric within those same pieces. In the wreckage of such a collision, I question things that have outgrown their identity or are removed from their original purpose.
My interests recently have shifted from aesthetic/optical curiosities to deeper thinking about the histories of the materials I am using, and how to represent my own body within those materials. A series of questions has informed my research into material histories: What are the afterlives of human-made objects and materials? What sorts of power do they have after they outgrow or are removed from their original purpose? I identify with discarded things, things that have outgrown their identity or whose identity
has expired. How does a shell of an identity echo in my present-day life? What are the shells of identity that I construct now? How do my former identities continue to inform choices in my work?
I will continue to produce bodies of work exploring the pathos of material breaking free from its intended purpose, finding resonances between my own former identities and the former identity of the discarded object/ material. I hope that my art draws connections between the afterlife-making of materials and the
shifting identities of an individual throughout her lifetime. The afterlives of objects seem more vibrant than their first lives because of the possibility of constant renewal amidst decay.
PS. I make posters or other commissions if you ask nicely :)
Take a look around my site. I hope you like it!
2015. M.F.A. Painting, San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco, CA.
2013. A.S. Graphic Design, Tompkins-Cortland Community College; Dryden, NY.
2008. B. S. Biology, Cornell University; Ithaca, NY.
February 5- March 12, 2016. Hi/Lo, Embark Gallery; San Francisco, CA.
November 14, 2015. Mo’Dada Performance Night; DADA Bar (86 2nd St.), San Francisco, CA.
June 13- August 22, 2015. Kalligraphia XIV; San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA.
June 11, 2015. SUBtraction; SUB/Mission (2183 Mission St.), San Francisco, CA.
May 13-17, 2015. Edge Effect (SFAI MFA Show); Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco, CA.
April 13-24, 2015. Treasure Chest Mural; Zellerbach Quad, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.
March 2015. Art Scientifique; Chris Sorensen Studios, Fresno, CA.
September 21-October 4, 2014. Fill in the _____.; Swell Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
August 24-30, 2014. Continuing MFA Show; Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
April 20-May 3 2014. Piecework; Swell Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
April 6-12, 2014. Solo show, Diego Rivera Gallery; San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.
April 2013. We Step Into The Light, Mann Library Lobby and Willard Straight Hall; Ithaca, NY.
October 2012. Fierce Shapes, Gimme! Coffee State Street; Ithaca, NY.
January 2012. Salon: Strictly Local, Tech Garden Gallery; Syracuse, NY.
Spring 2011. Solo Show of "Samantha Shapiro," First Floor Hallway at TC3; Dryden, NY.