top of page

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Opening Reception: 

Thursday, November 9, 6-9pm

Please Note: This exhibitions was held at Spillway Collective at 1400 N. American Street 100B, Philadelphia

November 9, 2017 - December 8, 2017

Show Catalog

Jen Shepard & Daniel Wiener

The words “between the devil and the deep blue sea”, from the eponymous 1932 song recorded by such artists as Ella Fitzgerald and Thelonious Monk, imply a state of being between frightening or unfathomable unknowns. Shepard and Wiener make work that mines the unknowns of human emotions or environments to which few have visited, like the moon or the bottom of the sea. 

Wiener’s expressive, color saturated Apoxie-sculpt wall and floor sculptures, often titled after lines of poetry, suggest human faces and gestures. Each of Wiener’s sculptures has its own topography: some rippled and landscape-like, others sinuous and more figurative, composing a cast of characters at once familiar and alien. Shepard’s paintings and installations often include elements that reference the natural world, like sea kelp, rainbows, clouds, moon rocks and planetary shapes. Shepard avoids literal representation of these objects and natural phenomena and introduces a sense of play with high-keyed color, inviting us into an environment like one we may know, but in which different rules apply; here, clouds have stripes, and lightning and ocean vegetation exist in the same plane. In making work that remains outside the realm of specificity, both Shepard and Wiener have the freedom to invent and inhabit their own worlds.

Special Note: Due to a recent minor emergency, the galleries of 319 North 11th Street are temporarily without exhibition space. AUTOMAT wishes to thank those who rallied behind us with support and resources to enable us to continue our November programming. In particular, thank you Spillway Collective!

Curated by Nadine Beauharnois

bottom of page