Shirley Irons: Observer Effect

August 2019

Pavillion 2016 oil on canvas 38x72

Gallery Luisotti is thrilled to present its first Artsy online exclusive exhibition, Shirley Irons: Observer Effect, a tightly edited presentation of seven of the artist’s paintings. Drawing on the language of still life and documentation, Irons’ paintings often find their source in photographic materials. Like the deadpan mimesis of a throwaway snapshot, the focus of her paintings often describe unremarkable elements of the everyday, as we blindly learn to forget them. Switches, doors, and fans reside in the plaintive silence of empty offices and building hallways, devoid of the human presence. Dispersed through various paintings are contours of colors that impel the appearance of abstract painting, though this too is transient, and affords a bare minimum of information. Tempering the impulse towards the epic through use of simple monochromatic tones over emotionally oblique interiors, in these paintings, Irons’ brushstrokes are only loosely held in check by the rigid geometries of the spaces’ design, inferring a human gesture; what appears mundane and unveils the emotive value underneath the paintings’ immediate remove. Irons paintings are conduits to retrospection, leading the viewer into a climate of both transience and anxiety, of witnessing the wholly familiar and anonymous, and the experience of remembering such: what we do with things we don’t know to forget. The soft render of Irons’ palette limns the institutional coldness of buildings with this basic need to see ourselves as relevant in our time, if only through the lens of approximated memories.

Shirley Irons, born Pittsburgh, PA, lives and works in New York and is a Professor of Fine Art at the School for Visual Arts.

Irons’ work has been shown internationally and has been part of group shows at Pera Museum, Istanbul; McDonough Museum, Youngstown, Ohio, Islip Museum, Long Island; Rosamund Felson Gallery, Santa Monica; and in New York City at Murray Guy, Postmasters, Caren Golden Gallery, Patrick Callery, Alexander Bonin, Emily Harvey Gallery, Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College, the Clocktower, P. S. 1 and Threadwaxing Space. NYC. She has had solo exhibitions at White Columns, The Queens Museum, Tyler Gallery at Temple University, Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee University, and Luisotti Gallery, Santa Monica, where she is represented. 

Her work has been written about in the LA Times, New York Times, Art Papers, Art Monthly, Time Out, Flash Art, Bomb, Acme, among others, and she was profiled in The New Yorker Talk of the Town.

The exhibition can be viewed at the link here.