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Shane Aslan Selzer
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant


ARTIST STATEMENT: All of my work investigates materiality and abstraction as a means to symbolically bridge gaps between seemingly divergent communities or entities. My practice usually looks back in order to move forward, gathering an index of images, attitudes, and production through a determinedly assemblage method of research and practice of looking, analyzing and categorizing. Recently, I committed to memory a black and white, scanned catalogue image of a geometric sculpture made by Burgoyne Diller in 1943. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the image I had seen was oriented sideways, within a scanned catalogue of images oriented vertically. By the time I realized the error in my perception of Third Theme Construction, opinions had already formed in my mind’s memory map and I had grown attached to the shallow depth provided by the side view. Which side? I rescanned the faded Xerox I’d held onto, and flipped the image, re-emphasizing the distance between the page and the space it contained. Diller was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists (AAA), and the head of The Mural Division of WPA. In 1936 he commissioned little known abstract painters to create nonobjective murals that were intended for public spaces of transience, and gathering, in the Williamsburg Housing Projects. The formation of the A.A.A. fascinates me as a community effort to draw attention to a shared way of seeing and interpreting, not previously acknowledged through American exhibitions. In time, the maintenance and protection of these “in between” spaces diminished and the Williamsburg murals were forgotten, until recently when they were restored and exhibited at The Brooklyn Museum. I draw on the potentially overused term “in between” to describe a type of time spent. These spaces occupied visitors during brief durations of time spent daydreaming, having a cigarette, or chatting with a coworker. Time spent in proximity of the murals was neither fully subconscious nor fully conscious allowing the mind to wander, dwell, and skip ahead. The space between the viewer and the mural seems visually aligned with the shallow depth of field created by the sculpture Third Theme Construction, at least when viewed in black and white, on its side. I began referencing this shallow space through gestures using simple materials I had accessible, suggesting relationships often volatile and sweet, fragile and durable.

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