Coming Home, 2020
On the Rim, 2020
Gathering 2019, 2020
COVID-19 has reshaped our lives drastically. Since early March, we have bounced back and forth between the latest guidelines, crises, and setbacks. Many of us pass the time at home reading news stories and emails, dealing with energetic kids, video chatting with our friends and colleagues, watching Tiger King, The Last Dance, or Hamilton on our couches.
While we have placed greater distance between ourselves, we also find ourselves in a galvanizing moment that calls for response and collective action. Perhaps you have found yourself reflecting on what so recently we took for granted: our friends and family, our ability to travel wherever, whenever, and perhaps more broadly, we have been forced to reconsider how we understand our society and government. Whether captured in person or viewed from afar, our public consciousness has been rapidly transformed by images of politicians dithering (at best) as hundreds of thousands lose their lives and livelihoods, confederate statues get torn down, and righteous protesters get tear-gassed.
In response to this remarkable moment, lifelong friends Jake Seltzer and Nick Shepard, collaborated via text and email to produce (re)flection, a project that includes poems and images of places, people, ideas, and activities that are now accessible only in memories and photographs.
In (re)flection, Shepard and Seltzer collaborated via text message and email to explore the COVID-19 disruptions from multiple perspectives. Shepard’s understated and layered photographs depict past and present scenes as mediated images displayed through the surface of electronic devices. Seltzer’s brash and energetic poems reflect on wide-ranging experiences. Together, the images and words create a complex portrait of this extraordinary moment.
The two artists’ work explores a shared relationship with athletics, their childhoods and families in New York City, and experiences in the classroom. The title, (re)flection, calls attention to the two artists’ long-distance, electronic collaboration, the increased importance of devices in our sheltered lives, the impact of our past on our experience of the present, and the need for connection and flexibility in a changed world.
In addition to the exhibit on view from September 4–27, a zine featuring a printed version of the exhibition will be available for purchase on Axis's website.
About the artists:
Nick Shepard grew up in New York City, graduated with a degree in Studio Art and Art History from Carleton College, and earned his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in his hometown. Shepard's most recent exhibition, “A Mechanized Pencil,” appeared at Axis Gallery Sacramento in October 2019. His work has also appeared at the Crocker Art Museum, the Wassaic Project, Disjecta, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and the Center for Fine Art Photography. Shepard is based in Sacramento, where he is an active member at Axis Gallery and an Assistant Professor of Photography at Sacramento State University. nickshepard.com / @nickeshep
Jake Seltzer, better known as Dada to his son Sky, is a New York City kid who currently resides in Oakland, California. For the past 13 years, Jake has taught high school in the South Bronx, Durham, North Carolina and Oakland. Jake is the founder and director of Ball for Life Oakland, an organization dedicated to using basketball as a tool for youth development. Jake loves his family, friends, basketball, Wu Tang, Lauren Redniss books, helping others, pizza, baking muffins for his family, knowledge, wisdom and coffee in the morning. Jake has been writing on scraps of paper and napkins since he heard the Black Star album. He has a few degrees from some schools and is full of gratitude and love.