Moving Exit
July 31 – September 11, 2021
Galleries One and Two
  • Opening Reception
    Saturday July 31, 2021 / 2 – 5PM

Exhibition Text

ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce Moving Exit, a solo exhibition of new works from Daniel Shea in Gallery One & Two. The exhibition opens Saturday, July 31 and continues through Saturday, September 11, 2021. This is the artist’s fourth exhibition with the gallery.

Daniel Shea has spent the last several years seeking out a new method for making pictures in nature, specifically in heavily wooded locations. For him, the challenge is in the search for subject matter in a densely patch-worked environment, as the predominant visual field is one of texture.

Once he found a new approach to making these pictures in a natural setting, he returned to familiar urban environments and eventually found himself working with a group of steel workers in downtown Los Angeles. The resultant images come from Shea translating the tools and ideas he developed in his nature pictures to this urban setting, which is itself a dense visual patchwork, filled with its own larger, and complexly layered, connotations.

For Shea, it’s an exercise in trying to see, and by extension, determining what to see. As the writer Belle Hutton has observed, ‘Shea attempts to see the trees for the forest, discerning textures and details amongst the larger mass of greenery (and reimagining the traditional saying). This metaphor runs through the body of work and applies especially to Shea’s method of photographing nature. Shea seeks out his subjects within these landscapes, and in the process confronts how we relate to nature –appreciating and looking at the natural world despite the knowledge of our impact on it, which isn’t always in view – in a time of environmental crisis.’ He confronts our very contemporary dilemma of access versus perspective. As Shea notes, the work addresses ‘what often holds us back from experiencing the crises of the natural world, because we perceive it as unnamable, unseeable.’

With many of the photographic works in this exhibition, Shea has literally disrupted the traditional framing device. They have been produced with custom frames, in either wood or metal, which are seemingly broken: opened or peeled away from their familiar, rectilinear shape. Often, these uniquely composed structures extend or disrupt what is depicted. A frame defines an inside and an outside, and it can also suggest an idea about the world versus its own object-hood. The gesture of breaking the frame points to the relationship between art and value, politics and aesthetics, and the index and the thing being depicted in the photograph.

Moving Exit will also include wall-mounted sculptures that playfully engage domestic space and reference the urban environments of Shea’s photographs, further addressing the artist’s interest in architecture, form, and social constructs, while continuing to explore alternative ways of seeing.

DANIEL SHEA (American, b. 1985) lives and works in New York City, NY. Shea received an MFA in 2013 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA in 2007 from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include Foam Fotografiemuseum (Amsterdam, NL), Webber Gallery (London, UK), and Andrew Rafacz (Chicago, IL). Recent group exhibitions include Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney, AU) and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL). He is currently on view in American Framing at the US Pavilion of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale, and Lost Weekend, Yvon Lambert and Galerie Allen (Paris, FR). Recent monographs include Ex Nihilo, In Other Words Press (2019) and 43-35 10th Street, Kodoji Press (2018). He is the 2018 recipient of the Foam Paul Huf Award. His work is included in numerous public and private collections. This is his fourth exhibition with the gallery.