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Mamoth Gallery

January 18th, 2024 - February 29th, 2024
3 Endsleigh Street   WC1H  QDS

London, England  UK

MAMOTH is thrilled to announce "Duet", a two-person show featuring the works of American artist Nancy Shaver and London-based Singaporean artist Sherman Sam, on view from January 18th to February 29th, 2024.

Bringing together the artists' paintings and sculpture, "Duet" considers the potentialities of material beyond the role of conventional narrative. Contrasting redefinition with resistance, the exhibition parallels the artists' explorative and unbounded approaches in developing personal modes of meaning.

Nancy Shaver's career spans over four decades of critical enquiry through the ordinary, unpretentious materials and objects at the core of her work. The artist's practice originated with photography - compelled by daily observations of rural, working-class Upstate New York, Shaver went on 'junking' expeditions to take pictures of abandoned items found on the city's streets. Her fascination with the discarded T-shirts, dishevelled bookcases and re-photographed photos from the early 20th century infused magic into her framing of unexpected encounter as a form of Still Life - a journey that over time has transitioned into sculpture as an extension of her artistic expression and technique. Shaver's assemblages of altered objects create pathways for discovery through their sharp combinations of painted paper, found furnishings and antique textile. Several works in "Duet" exemplify her recent process of covering blocks of wood in fabric repurposed from used clothing, their interplays of colour, texture and form both describing and expanding upon the world. "Assorted Fabrics" (2023) finds connections between batik, flannel, African prints and Flashe acrylic, arranged into patchwork compositions that dismiss distinctions between mass culture, craft, and fine art, underlining the boundaries dividing these categories, and their permeability. She stacks cobalt chunks of wood inside a larger case in "Blue Face Box" (2023), contemplating utility and decoration. The resulting bodies of work, often categorised as "Blockers", "Boxes", "Spacers" or "Sentinels", hint at the narrative potential of materials while remaining ambiguously coded for individual consumption.

Sherman Sam is also a maker of entities, viewing his paintings more as objects than as pictures. Sam's works somewhat counter predominant narrative ideas by resisting an idea as it forms; beginning with the mark his mind makes, rather than imposing the image in his mind on the mark-making; it is the gesture that leads, fleshing itself out with an organic fluidity devoid of perceptual agenda. The artist paints in the flow of his living space, with television and music an ongoing soundtrack and frequent source of naming, with the works in "Duet" named after disco classics of the 1970s. Sam's process begins with one large sheet of plywood, which he cuts down into irregular pieces, sanding and priming the surface of each. Working with a joyous colour palette of oil paints, his technique often starts with a single gesture or simple repeated shape. Every mark has equal value in this unpremeditated process, and each painting takes time to reveal itself - "Le Freak, C'est Chic" (2021) gently dots and drips its way into a multilayered landscape - the streaming blue of "Disco Inferno" (2021) is boldly balanced by a punctuation of urgent red. Any arising perceptible images are unintentional, and at most, suggestive. Sam's craft is an improvised evolution formed from many years of embracing change; his creative philosophy centres on cooperating with his abilities and inclinations, allowing elements from different points in time to inspire fresh actions in older works, creating a sense of cross-pollination and liberating the work to become what the artist describes as 'a slow slide into inevitable imperfection.'

Nancy Shaver (b. 1946) is an American Artist based in Jefferson New York. She studied at the Pratt Institute in New York. Her work has focused on the "vernacular mass- market object and the hand- made as the site for my work" aiming to slip between boundaries of experience thought and pleasure. Recent exhibitions and group shows include: Figure and Field - A Collaboration - Mural Gallery, Hobart, NY (2023); Wolf Tones - A Many-sided House - Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario, Canada (2023); Interior Life: Recent Acquisitions - National Gallery of Art, Washing- ton, DC (2023); Nancy Shaver - New work, floor and table models, (on the floor) - Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY. (2022); Nancy Shaver Copper and Propane, A Photograph: What It is and What It Is Not - F Gallery, Houston, TX (2022); Blockers, Spacers & Scribble Drawings, Parker Gallery, LA, CA (2021); Fastness, slowness and Monstrous Beauty - Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY (2020) amongst others.

Sherman Sam (b. 1966) is an artist and critic based in London and Singapore. He has exhibited internationally, including one-person shows at The Suburban (Chicago), the Rubicon Gallery (Dublin) , Equator Art Projects (Singapore), Annka Kultys Gallery (London), and Ceysson-Benetiere (Luxembourg). His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions, including M6: Around London at CCA Andratx (Majorca), Connected at Feature Inc (New York), The Theory and Practice of Small Paintings at Equator Art Projects (Singapore), "Slow Painting", a UK touring museum exhibition organised by Hayward Touring, and Strange Forms of Life, STPI, Singapore amongst others.

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