In 1948, in the icy waters off the west coast of Iceland, a British ship from Grimsby called the Epine GY7 wrecked. The remains of the ship washed up on a remote stretch of the west coast near the Snaefellsness Glacier. The rusted detritus was strewn across a smooth, black pebbled beach, the abstract forms full of latent potential and dormant energy.
Silverstein is documenting and archiving these three-dimensional fragments into graphic two-dimensional rubbings—a process imbued with ritual and remembrance. The rubbings, photographs, and video are just the start of the journey. Using the pieces from this constructed archive, the artist has begun an attempted reconstitution and memorial for this exhibition as Chapter 1: The Fragments. Inherent in Silverstein’s practice is this same desire to take apart and piece back together fragments of her own work. Her studio is overflowing with stacks, piles, and arrangements of abstract shapes cut from larger pieces of painted canvas which she re-assembles, arranges and rearranges into large-scale layered configurations to rebuilt something new again and again.
At its core this project is similarly about mining wreckage to create new forms. Silverstein’s obsessive desire to understand develops into a desire to build structure and meaning from the fragments and evidence of wreckage. Forms, like understandings, are not permanent, and Silverstein’s creative process embraces the way that things come apart and come back together. Our bodies, our relationships, our expectations, even massive machines made of steel are all eventually dismembered.
This project is also about failure—the epic failure that is a shipwreck is echoed by the secondary, certain failure to “reconstruct” the ship. For many reasons, the artist was always destined to fail at this monumental endeavor. But this frees the project from the obligation of objective reporting and favors what Werner Herzog would call “ecstatic truth.” Art is a response to knowing something is impossible.
Ali Silverstein (b. 1980, London) lives and works in Los Angeles. She holds a BA from Columbia University in Visual Art and Comparative Religions, and an MFA in Painting from The Slade School of Art in London. Silverstein’s work has been featured in multiple international solo exhibitions with Bischoff/Weiss Gallery (London), Inga Gallery (Tel Aviv), and Albertz Benda Gallery (New York). Additionally, Silverstein has been an artist-in-residence at the Bialik space in Tel Aviv, and at the Esalen Institute in Big Sure. She was recently named an “Artist to Watch” in the “Women in the Arts” issue of Whitewall magazine. She has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the US and abroad, and her works are held in a number of important private collections worldwide.
Beginning in November, join us Fridays 6:00-7:00 for unique, free VIP tours of the 4 Solo Shows. Must reserve your spot ahead of time.
Tours sponsored by Mister Car Wash