Upcoming: MoCA Tucson July 2019
In 1948, in the icy waters off the west coast of Iceland, a British ship from Grimbsy called the Epine GY7, wrecked. The remains of the ship washed up on a remote stretch of the west coast near the Snaefellsness Glacier.
The rusted remains are strewn across a smooth, black pebbled beach. The abstract forms are full of latent potential and a dormant, almost kinetic energy.
Silverstein has taken it upon herself to document and archive these three-dimensional fragments into graphic two-dimensional rubbings - a process imbued with ritual and signifying remembrance. The rubbings, photographs, and video are just the start of the journey. Using the pieces from this constructed archive, the artist has begun an attempted reconstitution and memorial. This exhibition presents only the first chapter: The Fragments.
Inherent in Silverstein’s practice is this same desire to take apart and piece back together fragments of her own work. Her studio is overflowing with stacks, piles and arrangements of abstract shapes cut from larger pieces of painted canvas. These she re-assembles, arranges and rearranges into large-scale layered configurations - using and repurposing the detritus from her collaging to rebuild something new again and again.
At its core this project, as much of Silverstein’s work, is about mining wreckage to create new forms. Her obsessive desire to understand develops into a desire to build structure and meaning from the fragments and evidence of wreckage. Forms, like understandings, are not permanent, and Silverstein’s creative process embraces the way that things come apart and come back together. Our bodies, our relationships, our expectations, even massive machines made of steel are all, eventually, dismembered; it is the continuous process of restructuring that interests Silverstein — a process of remembering.
This project in particular is also about failure. The epic failure that is a ship wreck is echoed by the secondary, certain failure to “reconstruct” the ship. For many reasons, the artist was always destined to fail at this monumental endeavor. But this frees the project from the obligation of objective reporting and favors what Werner Herzog would call “ecstatic truth.” Art is a response to knowing something is impossible.