Bungee

Nick Shepard
Bungee
Digital Pigment Print, 2021
Lean-to

Nick Shepard
Lean-to
Digital Pigment Print, 2021

Axis Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Nick Shepard on view from June 4–June 27, 2021. Shepard will present an artist talk Friday, June 11. This is Shepard’s third solo exhibition in Axis’s main gallery.

For this exhibition, titled “As Built”, Shepard displays photographs of temporary studio constructions that are cobbled together from scraps and zip ties, held in place with little more than some screws and gravity. As in his past shows at Axis, Shepard uses unfinished structures as physical interventions in the gallery and surfaces on which to display the printed images. For the first time, Shepard displays constructions in the gallery as sculptures.

Shepard’s approach to the medium is not traditionally photographic in the sense that it is not subject-based, nor is it documentary—indeed his images have been mistaken for paintings. Nevertheless, his work is grounded in photography and builds out of a deep technical foundation. Even as his work has become more abstract and geometric in recent years, Shepard continues to transform mundane objects into visually engaging compositions that call attention to the systems that shape our world.

In “As Built”, Shepard’s tenuously balanced structures evoke the instability we have all experienced since early 2020. We have endured astounding mendacity, impassioned protests, and sickening wildfires, all amidst a deadly pandemic. The turmoil has revealed cracks in society’s foundations, exemplified by the accelerating proliferation of ad hoc structures among Sacramento’s highway overpasses, parks, and riverfront. Perhaps being forced to look will prompt us to collectively reevaluate the unsteady structures we have built over generations.

“As Built” continues Shepard’s interest in highlighting the construction and consumption of images, objects, and spaces using digital and analog processes. His projects have included installations of images in unfinished physical spaces, abstract still lifes of mundane objects such as building materials, and a collaboration with a poet that explored the mediated experience of memory, protest, and intimacy during the COVID pandemic.

Nick Shepard grew up in New York City, where he earned his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, studying under Sarah Charlesworth. This is his third solo show in the Main Gallery at Axis, following "Revision 1" in 2018 and "A Mechanized Pencil" in 2019. In September 2020, Shepard's collaboration with Jake Seltzer, an Oakland-based poet, appeared in the East Gallery. Shepard is based in Sacramento, where he is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Sacramento State University. In addition to Axis, his work has appeared at the Crocker Art Museum, Pence Gallery, the Wassaic Project, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, and the Center for Photography at Woodstock. nickshepard.com / @nickeshep