‘As a sculptor [Erin] Shirreff’s eye for texture and form expresses itself photographically as a near genetic-level understanding of how light can visually transform the sculptural manipulations of material. That’s been true her entire career. Past pictures include sharp and spectral images of hand-hewn objects glowing like the surface of the moon, or the smooth angles and curves of other things brooding in shadow. If photography is about light and sculpture about material, Shirreff’s work makes an unresolvable knot of the two that’s as beautiful as it is puzzling’.
– Murray Whyte, ‘Art Review. Erin Shirreff: Remainders’, The Boston Globe, Friday, 26 February, 2021
Erin Shirreff’s studio practice often invokes the mythologising of art history. For her ongoing series, Figs, the artist photographs forms she creates from coloured plaster that recall modernist sculpture or architecture. The final portraits are composites — an object 'made' by two disparate images joined at the center seam. Folded in a manner that references the art historical textbooks that inspired them, the images have a discontinuity that evokes missing pages or a sense of incompletion, while the rich surface textures of the forms and their impossible objecthood point to new possibilities that might arise from reproduction.
14:48 minutes, looped
In a recent body of work, Shirreff employs dye sublimation printing processes, a method in which the photographic image is transferred onto a thin sheet of metal. Each aluminium print features a fragment of a reproduction of a sculpture magnified beyond recognition so that the resulting image is abstracted; nothing more than a collection of halftone dots. Shirreff cuts each print into shapes reminiscent of leftover scraps of paper, before assembling them as informal dioramas in deep-set frames. These three-dimensional compositions are at once sculptural and photographic, interrogating the space between the dimensional and pictorial.
6 minutes, 10 seconds loop
Erin Shirreff’s work has been featured in recent solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (2019); Palazzo De’Toshi, presented by Banca di Bologna, Bologna, Italy (2018); Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2016); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2016) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2015). Erin Shirreff: Remainders, is currently on view at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA until January 2022. Her work belongs to major private and public collections including Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. She was born in 1975 and currently lives and works in Montreal.