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ROBERT & SHANA PARKEHARRISON  /  THE ARCHITECT’S BROTHER  /  February 10, 2011 – March 12, 2011  /

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Installation view, 2011


Opening reception for the artists: Thursday, February 10, from 6 – 8 PM
Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce The Architect’s Brother, a solo exhibition of work by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, comprising photographs from the series of the same name, alongside new sculpture. The Architect’s Brother, a series created between1993 and 2005, includes both RC prints on panel, hand painted and layered with encaustic, and photogravures. The George Eastman House organized a solo show of this body of work, which traveled to thirteen institutions between 2002 and 2007. This is the first time this body of work will be exhibited in depth in New York.  

Images based on a concern for the environment - assuming such a monolithic entity - are often practical and illustrative. Sculptures that invest locally harvested materials with a human twist, for example, or photographs that juxtapose culture and nature, are necessary to remind us that the world is vulnerable to the changes we wring upon it. But these works are of limited effect. They only confirm what science tells us, and scientists freely admit they don’t know everything.
Artwork investigating nature and ecology that aims to transcend this dilemma must achieve the more difficult and nuanced task of proposing relationships larger than those we can imagine for ourselves. What if the environment is not what we think we see, but something altogether more complicated? Which leads us to the work of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.
The world constructed by the ParkeHarrisons is a multilayered place unified by a collision of elements that illuminate and obscure. The result is speculative. Does the earnest Protagonist actually think he can save the world by calling forth seeds aloud, by hand stitching geothermal fissures together, by manually rewinding the seasons?
The ParkeHarrisons’ artwork insists we create a science that is technical in unexpected ways, alert to consequences in the world, and very, very strange. The performances, sculptural props, and backdrops that beget their highly constructed photographs are outside one medium or another, suggesting science better behave in a likewise manner if we hope to coexist with the planet. The attempts by their besuited character to mend the world are terrifyingly clumsy and yet poignant and beautiful. Which, as it turns out, is also an exact description of the human condition.
- William L. Fox, 2010
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison have developed their collaboration over the past sixteen years. In 2000 they publicly acknowledged co-authorship of their images. In addition to the traveling exhibition of The Architect’s Brother, they recently had solo exhibitions at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, the Slusser Art Gallery at the University of Michigan, and the Gallery of Photography, Dublin. They have been included in recent group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fundacion Canal, Madrid, the Frost Art Museum, Miami, and the Musée Malraux, Le Havre.
Work by the ParkeHarrisons is in numerous private and public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.  In 2008, they received the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant.
Upcoming exhibitions at the gallery include Claudette Schreuders: Close, Close and Pierre Dorion: Distraction, opening March 17th, on view through April 16th, 2010.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at

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