Jen Tough Gallery


Michael Shemchuk: Surface Tension

DECEMBER O1 -21, 2018


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 01, 5:00 - 7:00


Jen Tough Gallery is thrilled to announce the solo exhibition of gallery artist Michael Shemcuk, “Shem”. Shem as been in numerous shows at the gallery including Earthly Evidence with Mark Eanes and Carol Dalton and numerous art fairs. We recently launched a new line of prints of Shem’s work which we introduced at Art San Diego in October.

This is a groundbreaking show for Shem as he is introducing a new painting process that involves liquids, layering, transference, time and gravity in an elaborate and thought provoking process involving a large artist made soaking trough about 20 feet long. The artist will demonstrate this new process live during the opening reception, where viewers can bid on a piece they have witnessed being created.

I have been experimenting with this process since January 2018. This idea was encouraged via a conversation with Jen Tough when I revealed that I had done a similar project in 1983 at the Twin Palms Gallery in San Francisco, though I had not attempted anything like it since. Jen was greatly supportive and challenged me to revisit this process. Since our conversation I have been doing just that. It is truly inspiring, infectiously motivating, and deeply grounded in process. 

Surface Tension is a multiple step collage and transfer process. The concept is to work in tandem with natural elements and forces to create images on paper. The elements are water and the forces are saturation, pressure and evaporation along with time. The materials used are paper, various collage papers and clear art medium.

Process: A sheet of 18”x 22” paper surface is covered with a variety collage papers. Water + diluted clear medium is poured onto the paper until it is immersed. The papers absorb the liquid and saturate the surface. A flat weight is placed on the entire surface (pressure). At this step, the water+papers+clear medium creates a random & unpredictable surface complete with colorations and textures. After some hours(time) the weights are removed and the paper is allowed to dry (evaporation). The completely dried papers are flattened out and scraped/sanded to remove the paper that has not adhered to the 18”x22” sheet. A coat of clear medium is applied to the finished surface.

Results: The results are random and always unpredictable. The artist selects, crops, trims and signs each individual artwork from the master sheet. All graphite; charcoal markings are applied to the master sheet pre- process by the artist.