Joy Episalla ~ 18 december 2003 to 25 january 2004
studio 1.1
london e2

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  'for the birds'

Episalla’s work operates at the place where photography and sculpture intersect. She utilises diverse media: photography, digitally manipulated images, sculpture and video. Her past work has concentrated on images of everyday objects which bear witness to our presence – pillows without pillowcases to cover the markings of stain and sweat; curtains moving slightly in the breeze; close-ups of upholstery on the back of a sofa; a well-worn carpet, shot to reveal the traces of its use.

In this new body of work, Episalla has extended her focus to investigate one particular site, the garden behind her flat. The core of this exhibition is the video entitled ‘For the Birds’. This video, filling the back wall of the gallery, opens as a seemingly simple real-time shot of an ivy-covered brick wall, and gradually becomes, in the artist’s words, ‘a virtual live-action flick set in a massive bird condominium complex. It functions like a living, breathing monochrome’. Almost imperceptibly, ripples disturb the surface of the ivy and the sound of chirping prefigures the moment when birds begin to dart in and out from under its cover.

"Once an art student asked Corot to tell him how to paint leaves like that, and he told him ‘Always paint leaves so a bird could fly through’. See those leaves? A bird could fly through."
Tom Wolfe, ‘The Shockkkkkk of Recognition’

Three pieces as well as re/creating a living environment, form a subtle enquiry into the modes of its representation.

The video draws the viewer through its elaborately articulated proscenium to move within the space the leaves and darting birds define. Another mass of ivy leaves printed on industrial billboard vinyl, pressed flat against a side wall, emphasises the reality of the wall itself; while more iconically, floating proud of the wall opposite, an image of a dark hole within those same leaves suggests yet inevitably denies that illusion of penetration.

Joy Episalla lives and works in New York. She is currently represented in New York by Debs & Co gallery. Her work has been widely exhibited in the US and internationally, with recent solo shows in Neue Gallerie/Interaktion Kunst, Hanover; Mercer Union, Toronto; Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona; Clifford Smith Gallery Boston and Debs and Co., New York.

"Questions – if that is what they are –
answered directly, simply,
by day itself."
Elizabeth Bishop, ‘Five Flights Up’

Studio 1.1