Mariane Ibrahim presents “Where to begin…” the gallery’s second group exhibition in Paris following the inaugural opening in September 2021. The show highlights significant new and large scale works by Carmen Neely and Ferrari Sheppard. The two artists share the power to transfix the spaces they hold, evoking intimacy through the recollection of memory. Calligraphic strokes and different use of gesture explore the present, lost and those chosen to be forgotten.
A collector of objects and traces of past, Carmen Neely’s practice centers around expressions of memory through the vehicle of gestural abstraction. She is deliberate and articulate in her compositions referring to an emotional language, the concentration of strokes evoke intensity in relation to struggle and abandonment. Although she is constantly exploring her sexuality and feminine energy, relaying an openness, there is something introverted in her work, an ongoing dilemma to control or surrender.
Meanwhile, Ferrari Sheppard blurs the lines between abstraction and figuration, with loose and dynamic movement. The figures are meaningful, staged moments capture an attitude, or an intimate moment. His paintings are influenced by memories and lived experience, evoking a sense of nostalgia.
The expression exists in imaginary worlds Neely transpired as a child, creating scenarios and relationships to objects that re-enforce meaning in inanimate objects. This translates to the execution of the work as documentation of lived experiences through embodiment. In this way, the paintings are embodied documents of personal histories, honoring memories and the artists choices. She shares, ‘’I reference conversations, people and gestures, each small components or souvenirs of narrative that collectively create what is presented on the canvas.’’
Sheppard’s “One Way Ticket” interprets a scene of a train station, which is a moment of intersection between those who leave or those you leave behind. The impetus of the artist's oeuvre is to reconnect with places he deliberately left. You see figures or backgrounds fading, representing a memory trying to be recollected before it escapes.
The work embraces what happens through painting, particularly of abstraction, and is hopeful that the work communicates something through the medium, of their own lived experience at the same time, and his own. His past relationship with music is noteworthy. There is a feeling of sketching notes, a harmony is a thread that runs through the work, Sheppard as the conductor. Sheppard refers to his work as “the arc in which one begins one’s journey, the middle, and where one ends. Rarely our apprehensions are worse than the fear of embarking...”
“Where to begin…” is engrossed in the process of what is lost and gained in interpretation.