New Release is pleased to present Gerald Sheffield’s first solo exhibition in New York, Democratic Paradox. Focusing on the complicated intersections between power and occupation, and the politics of recognition, Sheffield visualizes who and what we see, and for whom the gaze is a legitimate departure.
Gerald Sheffield’s work reflects on the nuance of contemporary US history - representing the precarious state of national identity, freedom, and democracy through the shifting intentions of material artifacts. For this exhibition, he has installed an assemblage in the front of the gallery for viewers to observe both from inside and outside of the space. There will also be small portraits on canvas and panel representing the lesser-known migrant workers in Iraq employed by American defense contractors.
The paintings consider America’s historical engagement with non-western societies and the issues with western representations of non-Europeans. More than just a portrait of the individual, Sheffield’s paintings attempt to explain the boundaries and borders, which are entangled within both a formal and political composition of art history.
Making legible the margins that exist within the fixed structures of western representation, Sheffield’s paintings and installations are largely based on the nuances of his personal experiences serving as a soldier in the US Army in Iraq and living abroad.
Gerald Sheffield (b. 1985, Atlanta, Georgia) is an artist and educator working and living in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale School of Art Painting/ Printmaking program in 2017. He was the 2018 artist in residence at the White House Fellows Annual Leadership Conference in Washington DC. Sheffield received a Creative and Performing Arts Fulbright Award to Uzbekistan, where he’ll be researching Islamic architecture and the significance of tolerance and diversity within Central Asian Muslim society from February to November of 2019.
Image: Gerald Sheffield, building Dreamland, or Camp Baharia, Fallujah, Iraq, 10" x 8", Acrylic on panel, 2018