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Julia Sheppard: Friends, Friends of Friends and Complete Strangers (Zurich Edition)

  • Box 43 43 Müllerstrasse Zurich, ZH, 8004 Switzerland (map)

Julia Sheppard. Friends, Friends of Friends and Complete Strangers: Zurich Edition

August 27 - September 26, 2014
Müllerstrasse 43, 8004 Zurich
Opening hours: 24/24, 7/7 

Box43 is delighted to present 'Friends, Friends of Friends and Complete Strangers: Zurich Edition', Julia Sheppard's first solo show in Box43.

Social media in the analog and digital world pervades Julia Sheppard's newest work. The surreality of todays social behavior in a self-representing culture is the main reference in Sheppard's subtile work.

Leaving behind the live model painting sessions, Sheppard is using friends and their friend's data bank of images on Facebook as source material. Sheppard removes these selfies and amateur snapshots from their intended context and re-brands them into a work of art for closer contemplation and reflection.

Formally, Sheppard's work refers to the tradition of portrait miniatures of the 16th and 17th century and contradicts it at the same time. Portrait miniatures were originally intended for private purposes. They were sent abroad for marriage introductions or integrated into pendants, watches and other jewelry. Painted for the public and shown as an ongoing collection, Sheppard's miniatures define a new context, opening the discourse of privacy and questioning our behavior towards social media. 

Sheppard's work 'Friends, Friends of Friends and Complete Strangers: Zurich Edition' also poses questions about friendship and sincerity. Who is worthy of being painted? And for what reasons? Out of friendship, for business purposes, flattery, love, strategy - or pure formal aesthetics ? Scaling down the format of the work and choosing a defined image section, the work's emphasis is on character detail and distortion of color. The use of garish neon acrylic paints and Damar glazing give the miniatures a digital and photographic feel which contrasts with the very visible grain of the tiny canvas.

Sheppard's continued interest is in the process of self-representation, portraiture, ownership, intimacy, image appropriation, privacy and the public sphere. She instigates a debate on these topics by re-posting the painted profile pictures to her “friends” on social media. For this exhibition however, as her display concept she has chosen a geo-located format. For Box43, Sheppard has selected a group of paintings of people based in or passing through Zurich. This ever growing collection will evolve as it is presented in upcoming shows entitled “Friends, friends of friends and complete strangers” in Paris and Montréal.

Julia Sheppard was born in Montréal, Canada where she studied studio art. She continued her studies in painting and visual art at the University of Arts Zurich and obtained her Fine Arts MA in 2010. Her solo exhibitions include “Julia Sheppard” Asylstrasse 66, “Old Masters Revisited” at the Galerie Stephan Witschi, Zurich, “EIN SCHATTEN MEINER SELBST” at Galerie Gustaf Ritter, Zurich and “Dionysos; muse” at Lokal-int, Biel-Bienne.

Julia Sheppard lives and works in Zurich since 2007.

CURATED BY: Marco Nicolas Heinzen & Franziska Heinzen

Earlier Event: August 27
nightly (self) exposure