When we turn our gaze inward, what do we uncover? Does the chaos of the surrounding world interact within us? In their delicate and speculative ways, the works of artist Beth Fein in her solo exhibition, What Shapes Us, begin to reveal the intricate movements of our emotional existence. Through a playful exploration of color and form, Fein evokes the power of opposites to decipher what our eyes cannot see. Complex issues such as loss and grief are carefully examined by this interdisciplinary artist and printmaker with a command over her medium. What results is a diverse collection of works that offer viewers a window into the concept of self.
To achieve a richness in her compositions, Fein utilizes a unique layering process that evokes a sense of her internal parsing. Each element is thoughtfully placed while still maintaining a strong degree of improvisation. Several pieces collage photographs and etchings into a new medium, adding extra notes of intimacy. This sort of process is fitting when one considers her background with performance art, where space and subject must interplay in real time. Fein continues to evoke dynamism in her two-dimensional work which elevates these prints among her contemporaries. Where others may be bound to the surface, Fein is able to deftly maneuver as though choreographing her imagery.
Across What Shapes Us is an effort to capture a sense of life beyond the material. Visually, the result is a transient reverie that skirts the boundaries between reality and transcendence. Delicate curves and wistful hues create an ethereal looking glass into the corridors of the mind. It is as though the work itself becomes a map of the artist’s internal navigation through the ebbing and flowing of her thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Even the figure’s utilization is always draped in a veil of ephemerality, like a fading memory that flees almost as quickly as it is recalled. A sense of movement in each work serves to highlight the impermanence and unpredictability of life.
Fein recognizes how outside forces naturally inform her artistic intent, and this reveals an air of minimalism to her approach. Emotional exploration is not a journey laden with complexity, but one that Fein distills to the essentials. Considering the personal and public aspects of our lives first begins by returning to the basic forms and moments found within, which then creates a playful landscape for recollection. What Shapes Us takes us through one artist’s recent path of contemplation and the beautiful tapestry that results. The roadmap is then placed in the hands of viewers who now have the opportunity to uncover the beauty of thoughtfulness for self-discovery.
About the Curators
Erica Criss is the head curator and the owner of Criss Collaborations. She has been curating exhibitions in NYC for over 10 years and specializes in contemporary fine-art prints.
Chrilz is a contemporary figurative artist living and working on the outskirts of the Detroit, Michigan area. His own writing practice is an integral part of his visual works, leading to his recent foray into curatorial writing. He works alongside director, Erica Criss, as a curatorial writer for Criss Collaborations.