Shannon Ebner

fret scapes

Kaufmann Repetto
55 Walker Street
New York
Tribeca
Jan 7th — Feb 19th

Find out more

F.R.E.T. stands for “Forecast Reference Evapotranspiration Report,” a climatological analysis of the rate at which fallen water evaporates. Similarly, “fret scapes,” an exhibition of black-and-white photographs and an installation by Shannon Ebner at Kaufmann Repetto, cycles back into itself like water from land to air. A poem titled “FRET” is printed on the gallery wall. Composed from the “WET LETTER ALPHABET”—part of the artist’s 2019  show “WET WORDS IN A HOT FIELD”—it consists of paper letters roughly half a foot tall. Ebner used water—that most flighty of media—to paste the letters up a building. There, she photographed them as they slipped and drifted like the old signs of a desolate small town. In scrape 17 (all works 2022), the “N” and “C” of the word “LANDSCAPE” swerve to the sides, the “S” becoming unnaturally enlarged as it warped.

In “FRET” and the photographs on view, other connotations of the delightfully wavering word are at play: “fret” can suggest worry or anxiety; gradually wearing away at something; a fog; even, in the studious affixing of the letters, an echo of the musical sense of installing frets upon a neck of an instrument. “FRET DROPS INTO THE ATMOSPHERIC WINDOW A ZERO CALM,” Ebner writes.

Lettering by a different hand, typically in urban environs, also holds fascination for the artist: the dispassionate institutional hand of the government; the invisible one of commerce; the intimate yet anonymous one which scrawls sentiment into wet concrete. She shoots the artificial layering of the letters of “SAMPLE SALE” over “RETAIL SPACE” of a storefront in timbuk2. commercial place consists, quite literally, of hanging signifiers: clearance tags bearing prices but no goods hang in the window of a closed store, only the backward yet instantly recognizable insignia of a Chase Bank visible as a reflection. —Lisa Yin Zhang

Shannon Ebner, FRET, 2022. Archival pigment print on Photo Tex, 116 x 237 inches. Courtesy of the artist and kaufmann repetto Milan / New York Photo: Greg Carideo.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    A traveling exhibition of 69 oil paintings, watercolors and works on paper aims to chart Milton Avery’s trajectory and contextualize his work for a new generation.

  • Through
    May 29th

    Inspired by fractals, Renee Cox’s deity-like collages of Black figures constitute an Afrofuturist creation myth.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    An economical survey of Jonas Mekas, “The Camera Was Always Running” serves as a touching introduction to the Lithuanian filmmaker and champion of avant-garde cinema.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The work in Valentina Vaccarella’s “Bless this Life” rests on a simple irony: monogrammed, embroidered French bridal linens pulled taut across stretcher bars and besmirched by rough images of modern madams.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    Daniel Lie’s “Unnamed Entities” at the New Museum challenges the antiseptic aim of curation and conservation by imagining a different kind of organic art that needs to be nurtured rather than preserved.

  • Ongoing

    Dia’s recent acquisition of works by Charles Gaines forms the basis of this survey, which includes the artist’s first forays into mathematics-based grid drawings and other early experiments in medium and form.

  • Ongoing

    Day’s End, an elegiac memorial to and stubborn ghost of eras bygone, will also serve as silent witness to the inevitable changes to come.

  • Through
    Jan 2nd 2023

    The sonic encounters provoked by Camille Norment’s elaborate acoustic artworks serve as agents for social consciousness.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The words masterful and mastery assert themselves the instant one encounters the works in “My Body,” both for Nancy Grossman’s command of a wide range of skills and her active state of dominance, identity and selfhood.