Opening reception is Wednesday, January 15th 6-8PM
Artist talk at 5:45PM January 15th, open to the public.
But I Don't Mind. is an installation of new works by Stephanie Sara Lifshutz, that embodies her experience as a feminist Jewish woman navigating the Neon Studio Industry. The phrases installed in this exhibition are distilled from Lifshutz’s interactions where she has been conditioned to paraphrase her standpoint of authority into nonthreatening requests. This body of work indirectly touches on some of the more inhospitable experiences that she has had while working in this medium. Lifshutz pointedly expresses her frustrations in the same material that is the source of conflict.
Lifshutz’s work centers on communication and her real life encounters and conversations. Her work is a meditation on expressions she said or wish she had said in the moment. But I Don’t Mind. captures these enraging moments in brightly lit neon glowing onto the busy downtown Brooklyn streets. Lifshutz chose phrases that are pulled directly from her life, allowing the viewer to decipher their meaning in this severe context.
This installation is an assertion of Lifshutz’s comfort to simply state rather than request actions or emotions. But I Don’t Mind. is an assemblage of phrases and sentences that the artist has said while declaring her place as an artist, as a woman, and as a neon bender.
Stephanie Sara Lifshutz is an artist and educator residing in Brooklyn, NY. She first began working with glass and neon while attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a graduate student. While much of her work comes from a personal place as a female, Jewish artist, Lifshutz’s latest body of work has been about universal experiences and emotions. Lifshutz initially studied photography and printmaking at Franklin & Marshall College and became infatuated with portraiture. She continued taking portraits of friends and acquaintances and soon realized the importance of the conversations that took place between herself and the subject in the privacy of the studio, especially while her face was hidden behind a camera. The conversations and shared time became more intimate as each subject would begin chatting and then reveal more of themselves, and that experience eventually became more important than the photograph taken.
She began learning neon in ernest in order to make some new work in the medium herself, struggling to learn while appreciating the time and process as a reference to the tedium and meditative nature of the darkroom. Lifshutz’s studio practice first focuses on concept and subject matter before deciding which medium to realize the piece, and neon felt like a natural progression to edit down a concept to its simplest form - directly communicating it to the viewer.
Lifshutz’s work has been exhibited nationally, including the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall, Museum of Neon Art, and Aqua Art Miami. She has work in the traveling show She Bends curated by Meryl Pataky, the first and only collective of womxn bending their own neon. Her work resides in various collections including Oregon College of Art & Craft. Stephanie keeps an active studio practice in addition to her teaching, and currently runs her own neon fabrication shop Pumpkin Studios.
Stephanie Sara Lifshutz’s But I Don’t Mind. is presented through UrbanGlass’ Window Gallery / Community Activation Project, an open call for emerging artists to present exhibitions, performances and other community-engagement programs in our ground-level Rockwell Street windows. This exhibition is a part of the 2019-20 series curated by Yael Ebon of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Gallery.
Public programs at UrbanGlass are generously supported by the Agnes Varis Trust, the Metropolitan Contemporary Glass Group, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Robert Lehman Foundation, Corning Incorporated Foundation, the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Foundation, and many individual donors.