“Arm’s Length,” Erin Shirreff’s first show at Sikkema Jenkins, presents a cohesive body of sculpture and photography that builds on the artist’s ongoing investigations into the overlaps and interactions of these mediums. Three new “Drop” sculptures show what paper studio scraps look like when translated into thin sheets of rolled steel hung on rods protruding two to three feet from the wall. Shirreff’s “Relief” photos of her own maquettes resemble oversize, vertically oriented magazine spreads. Also on view are four long-exposure photograms of geometric shapes (arches, circular cut-outs) that echo the three-dimensional works nearby, as well as tableaux made up of plaster objects arranged to look more like Surrealist landscapes than tabletop still lifes.
The understated sculptures and video installations in Erin Shirreff’s second solo exhibition at Lisa Cooley dwell on the subtleties of their materials. Drop (no. 1) and Drop (no. 3) look like the remains of eccentric modernist sculptures that have been disassembled, flattened into delicate sheets and hung out to dry. If the paper-thin forms of her steel sculptures belie their true weight, Shirreff’s videos insist on the objecthood of images. For Medardo Rosso, Madame X, 1896, Shirreff re-photographed a reproduction of Rosso’s well-known sculpture under different lighting conditions, emphasizing glares and reflections. The work is not an appropriated “picture,” or a weightless image, but a study of a material thing.