Sheila Pinkel “Manifestations of a Cube, 1974-1979”

Higher Pictures

poster for Sheila Pinkel “Manifestations of a Cube, 1974-1979”

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Higher Pictures presents Sheila Pinkel’s object study, Manifestations of a Cube, 1974-79.

Pinkel began Manifestations of a Cube in 1974 with a series of black-and-white photograms of a glass cube, exploring the infinite potential that a simple object has in nature. Pinkel discovered that she was unable to make the same photogram of the cube twice and that there were a seemingly unlimited number of direct impressions this single object could make onto photographic paper. Over time she introduced different processes to the project, making cyanotypes, adding color to the black-and-white photograms using both color Xerox technology and computer manipulation, and using an X-ray technology called Xeroradiography to make prints.

Pinkel explored how each technology reveals a different potential for the cube to make an image. In grids of black-and-white photograms organized like visual music the cube resembles a contortionist figure, appearing melted, warped, stretched, crumpled, or suspended in midair. The addition of color to black-and-white images abstracts the object further and reveals the unique parameters of each color-additive technology. Pinkel’s color experiments culminate in the short film Intuition, which shows a sequence of color permutations being performed on a black-and-white photogram via the computing system at the USC School of Engineering Image Processing Laboratory and was the first digital film made in that lab.

Manifestations of a Cube was also the conceptual inspiration for Multicultural Focus, the cross-cultural exhibition of photography Pinkel organized in 1980 at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Ultimately, Pinkel wrote a book entitled Manifestations of a Cube about her odyssey using the cube.

Sheila Pinkel was born in 1941 in Newport News, Virginia. She holds an MFA from UCLA and from 1986 to 2011 she was Professor of Art at Pomona College. Pinkel’s 40-year career spans experimental light studies, socially-engaged documentary projects, and public art. Pinkel’s work has been exhibited extensively since the late 1970s and is held in the collections of numerous institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Denver Art Museum; and the Musée National d’Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris. Pinkel lives and works in Los Angeles.



from October 14, 2017 to November 11, 2017


Sheila Pinkel

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