The New Old
Time, in all its various incarnations, permeates the latest body of work from New York-based artist Simone Shubuck. The connections and cleavages of the past and present are at the core of her most recent exhibition of works on paper, “Do You Like Old Things, or New Things That Look Old?”, opening tomorrow at Los Angeles’ Taylor De Cordoba gallery.
The title of the exhibition derives from a question Shubuck heard a teenage boy ask his friend a few years ago. “It was sort of a funny joke or a story that I would tell friends,” Shubuck says. “And I think there is something really interesting in there. It always did bring up something in the conversation about kids growing up in this era where there’s PT Cruisers and new stuff that looks old. I didn’t really have that when I was little.”
Shubuck’s works are the result of meticulous analog layering techniques. With a distinctively textured visual style, Shubuck incorporates pop culture iconography and various media, including antique photographs and papers, culled from hunting and collecting at flea markets.
“That [material] just is more interesting than starting from an anonymous white piece of paper,” Shubuck explains. The use of found objects lends a history to the materials, giving rise to the question of the inherent value of a given object. Shubuck asks, “What makes value? Is it because you tell me it is or because I care about it?”
Shubuck explores these notions head-on without an overwrought sense of nostalgia. Her latest effort combines paper, pencil, crayon, paint, and collage with exuberant, vibrantly colored effects. The layering of old drawings, found photographs and lithographs, and painstakingly detailed linework combine to create effervescent, amorphous plant-like forms punctuated with gestural fields of color in which Shubuck reconciles the physicality of the past with the openness of the present.
In addition to her artwork, Shubuck is a self-taught florist, and has crafted floral designs for The Standard Hotel and Babbo in New York. Now retired from the commercial floral scene, Shubuck keeps a garden, and the formal qualities of flowers continue to manifest themselves in her work.
“I think there’s just a power being around that natural stuff that’s so intense and beautiful, whether it’s a color or a texture or how a flower head’s structured that can give you structure for a composition,” Shubuck says. “There’s sort of an infinite amount of stuff in nature. In some ways you can say nature is incredible on its own; why make art?”
DO YOU LIKE OLD THINGS, OR NEW THINGS THAT LOOK OLD? OPENS TOMORROW AT TAYLOR DE CORDOBA’S NEW LOCATION, 6021 WASHINGTON BLVD, CULVER CITY. THERE WILL BE AN OPENING RECEPTION FROM 6-8 P.M.