April 16th - May 28th, 2023
Resources for Shapiro's artwork include MEGA LAB, California State University Northridge, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and Digitization Program Office. These organizations have worked to digitize and create online experiences for a collection of coral and reef-dwelling specimens. Corals create habitats that other sea creatures rely on for food and shelter. Approximately 25% of all marine biodiversity - from worms and crabs to turtles and sharks - is supported by coral reefs.
Harumi Abe is a Japanese native artist from Tokorozawa, Saitama who has lived in South Florida nearly half of her life. Referencing Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space, her layered landscapes, intend to overlap memories and sway perspective in order to serve an idea of home and represent a "topography of our intimate being," while visually materializing belonging. Connecting her birthplace and her residence, Abe's paintings intend to magnify a morphing relationship called shakkei or "borrowed scenery". In search of balance and unity in design, through color and placement, the Florida landscape is the muse while Japan remains the inspiration.
Of her work Donna Ruff says, "For years as a graphic designer I worked on communicating economically. Now I'm interested in pushing that idea of economy to its limits, even to the point of impeding communication -- how much information can be removed or transformed, how much must be left behind to retain the narrative?
Since 2010 I've been making work using the front page of newspapers – mostly, but not exclusively, the New York Times – by cutting patterns based on the geometric forms typical of the architecture of Moorish Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East. What might be seen as a destructive process of removal has the paradoxical effect of highlighting the content left behind, while creating an object of fragile beauty in which the passing stories of the day are at once altered and preserved.The formal elements of the cutwork are both visually and conceptually important. The delicate structures are reminiscent of mashrabiyyas, lattice screens used for privacy, which keep out the heat of the sun but allow light and air into a room. In the same way, my work seeks to let light enter the opacity of our fixed ideas and beliefs.
The theme of loss runs through my work – from the literal loss of parts of the page and pieces of information, to the loss of understanding between cultures, to the encroaching loss of a print tradition, to the urge to memorialize an event. More recently I've begun to work with textiles, using commemorative t-shirts, or printing images from the news on children's blankets. The cut away shapes in the textile works are not formalized- they suggest destruction more assertively, reflecting increasingly aggressive attacks on the press and society in general."
Lauren Shapiro lives and works in Miami, Florida. Shapiro received a Masters degree in Fine Arts from University of Miami in Ceramics (2016) and a BFA from Florida Atlantic University (2009). Her work experiments with art's possibility to affect change and cultivate a broad awareness of our environment. Since 2018, Lauren Shapiro has been working with scientists to convey the essential research conducted on the impact of human-driven stressors on the environment. Shapiro focuses on making endangered ecosystems more available and visible to the public through her sculptures and installations. To create her work, she uses 3D models from scientific archives that digitally preserve these specimens for future generations and research. The models accurately represent living corals, made by stitching together 2-dimensional photographs captured by snorkelers and SCUBA divers. The resulting digital reproductions can be used for scientific measurements, virtual or augmented reality experiences, or turned into a physical model through 3D printing. For Shapiro, they become the foundation of her artwork to share coral reefs in a compelling and non-destructive way.