San Francisco

Alice Shaw

Gallery 16

As the veracity of photographic representation has been thrown into question, it follows by extension that the status of the photographer herself is also in serious flux. Alice Shaw’s most recent exhibition, titled “Auto(biography),” initially read as a whimsical look at self-portraiture, yet functioned as an endearingly digressive visual essay concerning the multitude of strategies for personal and artistic representation. Known primarily as a photographer, the artist here employed a range of media—drawing, painting, appropriated objects, sculpture, as well as photographs—in an inconclusive quest to figure out why, or if, the photographer matters as an artist as never before (to paraphrase Michael Fried).

The show made the most sense when viewed sequentially, with one’s radar attuned to puns. The first work was the tone-setting Auto Portrait, 2003, a snapshot-size print depicting the

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