A Subtle Kind of Beyond - Katie Shapiro - Gallery 295 (2015)

A Subtle Kind of Beyond
Katie Shapiro

August 28 - October 10, 2015

In A Subtle Kind of Beyond Katie Shapiro uses photography as a way to cast the energetic draw embodied in a metaphysical relationship to space, perception, and consciousness. Coming from a background in documentary photography, Shapiro moves beyond representational convention to express an internalized sensation of the world as a rhizomatic negotiation of image space. In doing so she asks, “How does one photograph the invisible?” and finds the answer in an expression of experience that is an internalized interpretation of photographic time. In this exhibition, Shapiro provides her own visualization of the invisible experience. To photograph the ineffable brings it out as a crystalized moment and transforms it into an expression of what is real. For Shapiro the invisible is an energy vortex, an affective place known as a site for metaphysical renewal that pulls one deeper. To image the invisible through photographic processes calls it into view and generates an interpretative position, which embodied as an event-horizon for the particular individual for whom the experience is discreetly individualized yet historically shared.

When a particularly affective moment in the landscape is shared, Shapiro considers it is as a perceivable pull toward the energetic field of the earth. As a planet with a magnetic core, there are many points on the earth that activate metaphysical attitudes of being. What gets generated in these spaces is not the sudden foregrounding of the continuously backgrounded landscape, but through the body in nature, the sudden realization and feeling of the physical beyond. Shapiro titles this body of work A Subtle Kind of Beyond in emphasis of a filmic third meaning. Using the tools of refraction and layering, Shapiro imagines the ineffable and intangible matter of energy vortices through landscape photography. In doing so, she is taking an anthropological position of interpretation using the language of images as a means of exploring an internal realm of consciousness that responds to these particular arenas. These sites of affectation are fixed with an understanding of the limitations of belief and lived knowledge.

The locations in Shapiro’s exhibition are all contended sites of a metaphysical renewal. These instances of energetic pulls that are felt rather than seen are pinned in her material understanding of the limitations that the photograph and camera have when recording. In this manner, what is seen is an alternative to what is unseen. In her pieces, the landscape is interrupted with lighting gels in the effort to visualize the invisible presence of energies to which so many are historically drawn. Gels, prisms, and electricity are all tied through the gestures of her own understood embodiment as image. Shapiro generates her own representational realms as she moves through the photographic realm as an interpreter of a site beyond. Here, Shapiro self-generates as an event-horizon of sites and materials sustaining the liminal and engaging with new perceptions of reality.

Exhibition text by Patryk Stasieczek, co-curated with Mike Love.