Rebecca Shore, Eight Modern


Some of Rebecca Shore’s sprightly paintings read as quirky compendiums of found objects, others as fantastical diagrams for elaborate circuitry. Heavily influenced by Chicago Imagists like Christina Ramberg and Ray Yoshida, Shore collects objects from many different sources and catalogues them in silhouette, against vividly colored or neutral grounds. Thus we find a brassiere sharing space with a man’s loafer, a golden key, a goblet, and a curving pipe.

The temptation was to try to make sense out of why these particular items are arrayed the way they are—in rigorous rows or more haphazard alignments—but the longer one stared at these works, the more perplexing and even illusory they appeared. At times, as in 2011-05(2011), the crisply delineated forms seems to detach from and float above their backgrounds; in 2011-15(2011), the colors took on an ethereal glow.

Similar optical phenomena materialized in a group of mostly smaller works in gouache on paper and distemper, acrylic, or egg tempera and casein on panel. Zigzagging lines and eccentric shapes evoked mazes, electronic circuit boards, or schematic diagrams for impossible building projects, The interaction between colors—a pale gray against brilliant red, or bright blue against inky black—produced a not-unpleasant case of optical jitters. Less successful were paintings like 2010-06-G(2010), where the artist’s cumulative approach simply suggested a blobby accretion of doodles. On the whole, however, Shore has found a mesmerizing language, collecting shapes from the world around her and creating a cryptic vocabulary all her own.