PRINT November 2004


For centuries, Europeans had the means to cross the Atlantic but didn’t. The biggest challenge to ocean navigation wasn’t technical, as one might suppose; rather, explorers had to conquer their staggering fears of the unknown. S’engoulfer, or taking the plunge, the French said of those with the hubris to sail beyond the offing.

“Take your eyes out to sea,” the title of Mindy Shapero’s solo show this past spring at Anna Helwing Gallery in Los Angeles, is a gentle solicitation to travel the high seas––not the Ocean of Darkness, as the Atlantic was once known, but its metaphoric double: the realm of the invisible. Simply put, Shapero’s “sea” is an abyss of philosophical and spiritual mystery, in which ontological questions and homespun fabulism give rise to eccentric, phosphorescent, and antirationalist objects. The centerpiece of Shapero’s show was a seven-and-a-half-foot sculpture of a

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