kris scheifele
New work by Kris Scheifele

May 1 - 31, 2015
OPENING Friday, May 1, 7:00-9:00pm

Janet Kurnatowski Gallery
205 Norman Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Hours: Friday & Saturday 1-7pm
Sunday 1-6 pm or by appointment

Images here

I was stopped in my tracks in June 2013. I could not make art or look at it. Mostly, I had a view of a ceiling for a year and a half while I waited out an acute thyroid crisis. It nearly killed me and in that time a strange review happened. Recent life events—divorce, loss of my home, six+ years of chronic illness, etc.—while they have placed me in a very precarious state, did not weigh on my mind. What arrived were the gorgeous moments I had had and the handful of shining stars who had populated them.

As I began making art again at the very end of 2014, I looked to three-dimensional objects as the best vehicle to illuminate a divided self who, in one moment, finds relief through digital and spiritual liberations from the body and in another, feels besieged by the practicalities—or impracticalities—of having to exist in one. I try to have a playful attitude about my fears and frustrations, but a lot of the time I feel trapped in a broken meat suit.

My new work marks a change from my rather physical cut acrylic paintings to, what is for me, even more demanding full-on sculpture. This required repeatedly pushing against my physical restraints, which are often intense. Through an economy of means, these modest tabletop objects are made of “sticks” and stones, eclectic embellishments, and found or inherited items. Just as life is a dynamic creation (often relentlessly so), some surfaces shift through the use of iridescent paint or multiple colors. Raw materials are revealed suggesting an ongoing constructive process. Objects lean, teeter, and maintain a tenuous stability. Many of the arrangements have a provisional quality, just like the fleeting dramas and difficulties that inspired them.

With this work, I want to acknowledge those who, with pinched abilities and resources, have to reformulate their lives and keep pace in this time of ferocious flexibility, who must heal themselves (without relying on doctors, gurus, charlatans, or dingbats), who experience deficiencies in support and community, who get told how lucky they are because at least they are not like Christopher Reeve, who, with their invisible, superhuman stamina and resilience, are invalidated through the casual assessment: “you look fine,” who lose years to symptoms while others have families, socialize, work, go on trips etc., who have to choose between the anger/shame/guilt/fear of chronic illness or the faith/love that raises us above it, who have to decide that they are not their bodies—they are something more. Stay strong for all of us who also share this curriculum in life.