Artist Statement



I am naturally a sensitive, curious, pessimist. Human behavior fascinates me, and while we have many positive traits, my work tends to highlight our weaknesses.

I like to pervert subjects and materials. I do this with common everyday objects (chair, matches, gun) , in varying dimensions, media and numbers. The object's finish is kept minimal, realistic yet obsessively detailed to focus a viewers interest and attention. Another aspect of the laborious quality of each piece is a rebuttal to the digital instant gratification, short attention span landscape that pervades the early 21st century.

My recent work is inspired in part by the political and cultural climate that was created in the West to justify pre-emptive war on the sovereign nation of Iraq in 2003. I am also intrigued by the question of where the overall responsibility for violence in our society lies.


Statement for Crosses


The cross series was sparked by the continued and overwhelming use of Faith as a cudgel in American electoral politics, and the anti-intellectual tide of certainty that flows from it.

In "Dominion", a king size bed in cross form, sports a tattered green electric blanket, with plug just out of reach of an outlet, it's past comfort fading.

With "Unauthorized Access"  a blue mock fiberglass cross shaped frame suggest the robes  of the Virgin Mary against the padded white mattress fabric. The bed's restraints dispel any notion of a divine connection.

A spear laden cross with an array of identical reliquaries within, make up " Multiplicity". The relics inside are versions of the Holy Prepuce, the foreskin of Jesus. The Prepuce, said to be given to Charlemagne by an angel in 800 A.D. was given to Pope Leo III as a gift, when the latter crowned the former Emperor. At times there were said to be up to eighteen in existence, a natural side effect of a public given to the prospect of bountiful indulgences such a relic could bring.

© james shefik  2017