Antonia Kuo & Pauline Shaw
Chapter NY is excited to announce a multimedia, two-person exhibition with Antonia Kuo and Pauline Shaw, both exhibiting at the gallery for the first time. Kuo presents photochemical paintings in aluminum frames and ceramic sculptures paired with wood and steel support structures. Shaw presents felted wool tapestries—some suspended from the ceiling—and glass sculptures on bronze posts. Both artists cull source imagery from personal histories, considering their own generational lineage and familial influences.

Kuo incorporates photographs and formal elements largely inspired by industrial materials and ma-chine parts from a metal casting foundry operated by her father’s side of her family. She combines these more rugged elements with imagined natural forms influenced by her Taiwanese mother’s painting practice in the style of traditional Chinese ink paintings. Growing up mixed race and queer to a Buddhist mother and atheist, ex-Roman Catholic priest turned psychoanalyst father has encouraged Kuo to eschew definitive categories in her work and in herself. In merging these discordant, yet personally familiar, formal influences, she evokes an intensity in her imagery that underlines doubt but retains a reverent attitude toward the chaos and beauty of “natural” phenomena, energies, and matter.

As a first generation Taiwanese American, Shaw attempts to reconcile the fragments of her personal memory by supplementing them with imagery borrowed from scientific, cultural, and natural histories. The work conjures domestic space and the feeling of home, safety, caretaking, and nostalgia. Throughout her felted work, Shaw combines source imagery derived from textiles found in various institutional collections, Chinese paper cutting, and patterns from other craft-based techniques, such as lace and marble-making. Shaw is drawn to symbols that convey luck and prosperity that have bolstered spiritual belief systems and notions of upward mobility.

Together, Kuo and Shaw’s wall works set forth densely layered compositions that both selectively re-veal and obscure elements of their wide-ranging subjects. Kuo uses masking techniques to manipulate photographic imagery and painterly actions on light-sensitive silver gelatin paper, layering and complicating her source material through an iterative process. Through wet and needle felting processes, Shaw combines wool with silk, bamboo, and viscose to create abstract sculptural tapestries. Building her compositions one layer at a time, she embeds representational elements such as skeletons and birds within patterned surroundings. Both artists compose fragmentary compositions that conjure a formal synergy that destabilizes their representational reference materials.

Their sculptures similarly evade immediate legibility. Kuo’s sculptures mimic the forms of machine parts, molded in wax, dipped in a ceramic slurry and silica sand, and then fired. In their current state, they could serve as molds for investment casting, but their playful forms resist any functional end. In-stead, like her photographic works, they are recordings of forms that are lost, obscured, and only partially remembered. In Nightlight, Shaw reimagines personal domestic items including zodiac charms, and miniatures of her and her mother’s childhood beds, reconstructed from memory and suspended in glass orbs that rest atop bronze cast bed posts. Within Streetlight Shaw presents a game of marbles tethered to lava rocks that create a fictional archeological looking site, reminding the viewer to approach all the works in the exhibition as traces of lived experience, either directly recorded, or filtered through dreams, memory, and lived experience.

Antonia Kuo (b. 1987, New York, NY) lives and works in New York. She received an MFA from Yale University in 2018, a BFA from School of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University in 2009, and a one-year certificate from the School of the International Center of Photography in 2013. Her work has been exhibited at Chart, New York (2022); Each Modern, Taipei (2022); MAMOTH, London (2022); Make Room, Los Angeles (2021); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Rubber Factory, New York (2018); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016). She has been an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA (2018), Vermont Studio Center (2016), The Banff Centre (2015), and was a MacDowell Colony Fellow (2014), among others. Kuo’s work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Pauline Shaw (b. 1988, Kirkland, WA) lives and works in New York. She received an MFA from Columbia University in 2019 and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. Her work has been exhibited at Friends Indeed, San Francisco (2022); Downs and Ross, New York (2022); in lieu, Los Angeles (2021, 2019); The Shed, New York (2021); Spurs Gallery, Beijing (2021); Half Gallery, New York (2020); Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2019); Almine Rech, Paris (2019); Gagosian, Park & 75th, New York (2019); and The Jewish Museum, New York (2018), among others. Shaw has been an artist-in-residence at ISCP, New York (2020) and France Los Angeles Residency Exchange Program (2014).