MATERIAL ART FAIR VOL.8, MEXICO CITY
APRIL 28 - MAY 1, 2022
Brittany Shepherd’s (b. 1988, Toronto, CA) practice engages notions of desire, perception, aspiration and class. Her resin and polyurethane culptures, videos, prints and photorealistic oil-paintings are linked by a visceral tactility and often subtle erotism, exploring the body in tension with the material world. The subject matter of Shepherd’s recent work reflects a longtime engagement with niche, online fetish forums. An active participant herself, the artist describes her paintings as “devotional gestures” that highlight the poetic mannerisms, materials and affect that flourish within these communities.
For Material, Shepherd presents a suite of new paintings that explore our intrinsic desire for security and paradoxical relationship to "cleanliness." Protective materials such as raincoats, vinyl gloves and PVC are captured with haptic acuity against exposed skin. These plastics are designed to shield the body from outside contaminants, but are dangerous environmental and bodily toxins in their own right. Building tension between organic and synthetic materials, Shepherd's shrouded figures speak to the fetishistic potential of both insulation and exposure. Scattered around the paintings, two soiled and wrinkled gloves cast in resin lay discarded on the floor. These "Phantom Limbs" evidence the fleeting presence of once-protected bodies, now exposed to external adulteration.Together, the works demonstrate a latent carnality that exists within public space. Within this seduction-repulsion loop, Shepherd reflects on our current moment in which we desperately crave and fervently fear human touch.