Sue Scott Gallery

Planning for Impermanence

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Martha Buskirk
Art in America, November 2017

New York-based Sheila Pepe.  Freed has acquired two of her works, which utilize sculptural elements and wall drawings inspired by the shapes that she discovers in the shadows cast by the objects.  Pepe’s Flexible Projection Field # 2 with Fixed and Ambiguous Pictures (1997) started out as an elaborate rubber-band installation at the Gramercy Art Fair.  Freed felt that he had a perfect space for the work in a small closet next to the entrance to his apartment.  But Pepe, who had not expected to sell the piece, didn’t want to give him a work employing those particular rubber bands, which she knew wouldn’t last much more than a year.  A bit of research turned up some industrial rubber bands that should have a significantly longer life span.  “The great thing about them is they happen to be black, and they’re beautiful,” says Pepe, who went back to Freed with the information and subsequently recreated the work for him.  But Pepe realizes that potential impermanence might not be for everyone: “It’s important for the artist to understand what they’re asking people to get involved in.  There are a lot of artists who didn’t know when they started that they would have a long relationship with conservators.” Says Freed, “Sheila tried to find the most archival kind of rubber band that she could find.  But she doesn’t know, and I don’t know, how long it will really last, and I’m willing to live with that, I guess, up to a point.”