Anna Shapiro, Artist and Catalyst
Anna Shapiro’s installation and performance sensibilities are about form blending feminism with cultural commentary, and it has a politicized relationship to place. In her “Make Waves” blog, she describes herself as an “Artist and Catalyst.” Her artwork conveys some of the habitual and resourceful ways that people, globally and individually, deal with the harsh reality of continuance. Inviting relationship to works by Richard Long, geographic mapping is in her ethos. Her latest installation in Maine also engages remembrance as reliquary, and that concept relates to the installation dream tableaux sensibility of Louise Bourgeois.
During a recent visit with Shapiro at her studio, she was in the midst of re-inventing “Parvietošana: Displacement” (which was initially shown in Sabile, Latvia in 2014) with the intention of exhibiting it again as re-configured content within the architectural setting of the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland. For the newest permutation to work most successfully, the reinvention required a flip from horizontal to vertical organization. On the day of my visit, Shapiro was engaged in modifying her concept from mandala format to stanzas of information.
Shapiro participated in the 7th Annual Conference of Contemporary Cast Iron Art, which took place in Sabile in 2014. “Parvietošana: Displacement” sprang from that context and was organized as a three-location installation. The Maine configuration in Portland will focus content and context into one site. For continuity, Shapiro will opt for verticality to integrate her information so it effectively reads from the balcony level, where it is to be installed, down to the central meeting area below.
In Portland, Shapiro will hang six giclée images by French cleats, which will hold her prints about two inches off the wall. Hanging from these will be a series of shelves lashed to the photographs in suspension. On them will sit small crochet pouches filled with crushed paper that are meant to reference her castings of Latvian stones; with them are long gleaned twigs to suggest landscape. All together, the artist plans these panels as mini-statements of Latvia to be placed between the museum windows to symmetrically punctuate the building’s upper balcony.